The CDC reports Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea, is developing a resistance to cephalosporins, which are used to treat the STD. This includes cefixime and ceftriaxone. The resistance occurs due to failure to finish the full course of antibiotic therapy and excessive use of the drugs. When left untreated, gonorrhea causes pain and discharge from the genitals and can progress to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women. Plus, it increases the risk for contracting HIV. This presents a huge problem if the STD becomes untreatable.
"This is both an alarming and a predictable discovery," said Dr. Magnus Unemo, who is based at the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria.
Current studies have already found gonorrhea cases in the US are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. The highest cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea have been found in homosexual men and those in California and Hawaii. With these findings, the CDC may have to change the current treatment guidelines for the STD. With 700,000 new cases of the STD in the U.S. each year, these findings are certainly alarming.
"While it is still too early to assess if this new strain has become widespread, the history of newly emergent resistance in the bacterium suggests that it may spread rapidly unless new drugs and effective treatment programs are developed," Unemo said in a statement.