It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … Super Gonorrhea. Ew. The CDC is now saying that gonorrhea— one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases — is becoming a superbug like MRSA, resistant to known antibiotic treatments.
Gonorrhea is apparently one wily bacteria; since the 1940s, the disease—which can be spread through any type of sex—has outwitted three other antibiotics, including penicillin.
Untreated, it can lead to sterilty, pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy in women; urethra scarring, urinary tract infections and kidney failure in men; and meningitis, joint pain and heart valve infection in anybody. It’s one of those ‘everyone you’ve ever slept with gets a call from Uncle Sam’ kind of diseases. And more than 700,000 Americans get it each year, the CDC says.
No cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea have been reported in the United States yet, but they have shown up recently in other countries, including Norway and Japan. And a 10-year CDC study reported last week showed potential resistance to two gonorrhea drugs on the rise (with resistance especially high in certain areas, such as California and Honolulu).
Japanese and Swedish researchers say this new gonorrhea strain could be “a true superbug that initiates a future era of untreatable gonorrhea.”
[Go here for more info on gonorrhea symptoms, treatment, etc. from the CDC.]