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First Drug-Resistant Strain of Gonorrhea Discovered

'Superbug' could spread globally within decades
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2011 7:49 AM CDT

(Newser) – A "superbug" strain of gonorrhea, the first ever to resist all currently recommended treatments, has been discovered in Japan. The strain, called H041, could quickly spread around the globe, scientists warn. While gonorrhea was once an easily treated STD, it has shown a "remarkable capacity" to develop drug resistance after doctors started using antibiotics to treat it in the 1940s, says the scientist who discovered the new strain.

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He adds that the "alarming" new multi-drug-resistant strain could spread around the globe "within 10 to 20 years," Reuters reports. Gonorrhea, one of the most common STDs in the world, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and, in women, infertility. For now, doctors are using untested medicines to treat the new strain. Experts say that in order to reduce the emergence of even greater drug resistance, gonorrhea should be treated with a combination of antibiotics simultaneously. (Read more gonorrhea stories.)

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