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The Naked Truth The Sexual Health Blog

What’s A Gonorrhea ‘Super Bug’?

July 8th, 2011 by Dr. Lisa, Medical Director

The gonorrhea superbug is harder to treat

A new strain of gonorrhea is resistant to traditional treatment

by Medical Director Lisa Oldson, MD

In a report released this week at the International Society of STD Research in Quebec City, Canada, Swedish researchers report finding highly resistant gonorrhea bacteria in samples from Kyoto, Japan.

Neisseria gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bug that causes infections in men and woman, some of which are asymptomatic, meaning people can have these infections without showing any symptoms. When symptoms are present, they often include vaginal or penile discharge, pelvic discomfort, burning with urination, discomfort with sex, spotting between periods or with sex…and even rashes or  joint aches. Left untreated, gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancies and infertility in women…as well as prostatitis and epididymitits in men.

Previously, we’ve seen resistance to azithromycin, which is now rarely used to treat gonorrhea. What’s remarkable about this study is that it revealed resistance to the cephalosporins, the only class of antibiotics to which gonorrhea is still sensitive.

What does this mean to you?

Researchers are worried that the new “super bug” strain of gonorrhea (HO41) could spread worldwide within 10-20 years…based on historical data regarding the spread of similar infections.

For now, doctors have no choice but to try combinations of drugs that have not yet been studied for gonorrhea treatment in an effort to find something that will cure HO41 infections.

And there are things you can do, too, to protect yourself against resistant gonorrhea and other STDs: use condoms and dental dams, limit your number of sexual partners, and get tested regularly to know your and your partner’s STD status.

Related info:
Gonorrhea’s Growing Resistance to Antibiotics Concerns CDC

Photo: ©iStockphoto.com/cglade


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