What is super gonorrhea? The first case of the drug-resistant STD has emerged, and health officials are fearing that there is no effective treatment currently available to manage the disease.
The “super gonorrhea” was reported in the U.K. Tuesday via a statement by Public Health England, which noted that a British man had contracted a “super” strain while traveling abroad. The STD then failed to respond to a combination of two antibiotics, Medical Daily reported.
“This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics,” said Dr Gwenda Hughes, consultant scientist and head of Sexually Transmitted Infection Section at Public Health England.
The infected man is believed to have contracted the STD in southeast Asia about a month before his symptoms developed, according to PHE.
After dual first-line therapy failed to treat the STD, health experts started him on an intravenous course of the antibiotic ertapenem, which he is currently responding too.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that progressive development of gonorrhea to a drug-resistant strain could “significantly complicate” the ability of healthcare providers to provide treatment for it.
“We have few antibiotic options left that are simple, well-studied, well-tolerated, and highly effective,” CDC said.
Dr Teodora Wi, the medical officer of human reproduction at the World Health Organization, explained that each time a new class of antibiotics was introduced, the strain evolved to resist the treatment.
Each year an estimated 78 million people are infected with gonorrhea worldwide, but Wi said these cases “may just be the tip of the iceberg, since systems to diagnose and report untreatable infections are lacking in lower-income countries where gonorrhoea is actually more common.”
Hughes said the U.K. case is being followed up on to ensure the infection is treated correctly and the risk of transmission minimized.
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