Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Will Likely Spread: Researchers

Release more details on Australia strain, predict it will soon be 'widespread'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 9, 2014 11:00 AM CST
A new strain of gonorrhea seems to be resistant to standard antibiotic treatment.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – As the threat of antibiotic resistance grows, researchers have come upon a new strain of gonorrhea—and it doesn't respond to the typical treatments, LiveScience reports. The strain was revealed earlier this year, and now researchers are offering a clearer picture: A European woman traveling in Australia tested positive for gonorrhea after having sex with a fellow European traveler. Researchers investigated the strain and found it to resist three different antibiotics: penicillin, ciprofloxacin, and even ceftriaxone, which has been the go-to drug in recent years as gonorrhea has grown resistant to other treatments.

This is "yet another warning shot highlighting that ceftriaxone as a successful therapy for gonorrhea may soon be coming to an end," a researcher says. Fortunately for the woman, a combination of ceftriaxone and another antibiotic, azithromycin, left her testing negative for the illness. The key question now is whether this antibiotic-resistant strain has emerged outside of Australia. "The history of gonorrhea resistance tells that once the first signs of resistance to an antibiotic begin to emerge, then it is generally not very long before such resistant strains become widespread," the researcher notes. Last month, the Obama administration unveiled a plan to fight such "superbugs." (Read more gonorrhea stories.)

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