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Home Home Wellness News Super Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Coming to U.S.
Super Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Coming to U.S.
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WEDNESDAY, April 4, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Americans should expect that a super-resistant form of gonorrhea like that found in the United Kingdom will soon reach these shores, health experts say.

Earlier this year, doctors diagnosed a man in England with a case of gonorrhea that could not be cured with antibiotics commonly deployed against the sexually transmitted bacteria.

This was shocking to the public, but not unexpected to those in the know, health officials said.

"The development of antibiotic resistance by gonorrhea is an inexorable process," said Dr. Edward Hook, an infectious disease expert with the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "It began soon after the first antibiotics were used to treat gonorrhea, and has continued since that time. It's progressive and relatively predictable."

Unless new antibiotics are developed against gonorrhea, or a vaccine created, these kinds of extreme cases will begin showing up in the United States, said Hook.

Dr. Bruce Farber agreed. He is chief of infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y., and at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.

"Resistant gonorrhea already is all over the United States," Farber said. "It's maybe not a strain like that you've just read about from the U.K., which is extraordinary, but nevertheless generally these cases are occurring."

Gonorrhea, also called "the clap," is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases worldwide.

It infects an estimated 78 million people globally each year, according to the World Health Organization.

In the United States, gonorrhea is on the rise, jumping nearly 19 percent in 2016 from the year before, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Amesh Adalja is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore. "Rates of gonorrhea are increasing and are tied to unsafe sexual behaviors, and these resistant strains could make inroads into the gonorrhea epidemic in the U.S.," he said.

"Highly antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is one of the most urgent infectious disease threats we face. There truly is the prospect of clinicians encountering untreatable strains of the bacteria," Adalja warned.

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