Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae and can affect both genders. It is a common infection, especially among young people aged between 15 years to 24 years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported disease in the United States affecting approximately 800,000 people each year. In the United Kingdom, about 28,000 cases of gonorrhea are reported each year. Symptoms of gonorrhea in men encompass painful urination, swelling of testicles and pus discharge. In women, symptoms comprise excessive vaginal discharge, painful urination and abdominal pain. Complications include ectopic pregnancy, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and Epididymitis. The incubation period for this disease also varies between men and women. In men, the symptoms occur between 2 to 14 days whereas in women it takes 7 days to 21 days to show symptoms. Astonishingly, about 50% of women have no symptoms in the early stage and during pregnancy it may infect the fetus during delivery.
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Diagnostic tests for gonorrhea include diagnostic imaging, flow cytometry, gel microdroplets, chromatography, artificial intelligence, liposomes, differential light scattering (DLS), molecular diagnostics and monoclonal antibodies test. Amongst these tests, molecular diagnostics is the most commonly employed diagnostic test. Molecular diagnostic tests include Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) that are highly sensitive for urine and swab tests, and are U.S. FDA approved. Over the years, there has been a substantial increase in the number of patients suffering from gonorrhea. Changing lifestyle and involvement of multiple sex partners has substantially boosted the market for gonorrhea diagnostics. In last few years, both Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have reported instances of antibiotic resistant strains in patients. This further exaggerates the demand for early diagnostic kits or tests on a global scale. However inadequate infrastructure, limited trained laboratory personnel and lack of awareness in developing countries are among the major restraints to the global gonorrhea diagnostics market.
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Geographically, the market is majorly driven by developed economic regions such as North America and Europe owing to presence of large number of point of care tests and high awareness among people with respect to sexually transmitted diseases. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service recommend pelvic examination on an annual basis which also increases the growth prospects of this market. In 2013, the total number of new cases of gonorrhea diagnosed in genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics in England was 29,291. This represented an increase of 15% compared to those diagnosed in 2012. However, in developing parts lack of appropriate knowledge and infrastructure has limited the growth prospects. Despite that, owing to increasing disposable incomes and changing lifestyles in developing regions, the market for gonorrhea is expected to have the fastest growth in Asia Pacific and Rest of the World regions. Recently in 2014, a new strain of gonorrhea known as A8806 was reported in Australia which is also multi-drug resistant. Such instances have raised concerns among researchers and government agencies owing to which, number of clinical trials in Asia Pacific region has drastically increased which will eventually boost the demand for diagnostic tests and kits.
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