Learning you have gonorrhea is bad; learning officials consider your case of gonorrhea the "worst ever" is something else entirely. The Press Association reports a man in the UK was diagnosed earlier this year with what is believed to be the first strain of gonorrhea to be resistant to the main antibiotic treatment. Public Health England says the man contracted this super-gonorrhea during a sexual encounter with a woman in Southeast Asia. His symptoms appeared about a month later, according to CNN. As is usual with gonorrhea, doctors attempted to treat it with the antibiotics azithromycin and ceftriaxone. Unusually, the antibiotics didn't work.
"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," Dr. Gwenda Hughes with PHE says. The World Health Organization and the European Centres for Disease Control agree that it's a global first, the BBC reports. The man's antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is a major concern for experts, who fear the STD becoming untreatable. "The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart," Teodora Wi at WHO said last year. "Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them." Health officials are going back through the man's sexual history to keep the gonorrhea from spreading. So far no other cases have appeared, including in the man's regular female partner in the UK. Doctors are trying a final antibiotic on the man and will know if it worked next month. (Read more gonorrhea stories.)