Scientists have discovered a "super bug" version of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea. As with other super bugs, this strain is reportedly resistant to antibiotics used to combat the sexually transmitted disease, say researchers.
The discovery, made by Swedish researchers, could signal the STD's re-emergence as a global health threat, particularly since antibiotics such as cephalosporins are the only effective treatments for gonorrhea.
Magnus Unemo, professor at the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria in Örebro, Sweden and lead researcher of the discovery said in a statement:
While it is still too early to assess if this new strain has become widespread, the history of newly emergent resistance in the bacterium suggests that it may spread rapidly unless new drugs and effective treatment programs are developed.
Medical experts are also concerned that this latest discovery could be a new avenue for the spread of super bugs. Typically, antibiotic-resistant bacteria (such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA) are tied hospital infections risks. But a super-gonorrhea bug could spread anywhere at anytime, warn experts.
Last week, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report, urging doctors to be on the lookout for cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea and to report cases promptly.
Read more about gonorrhea, including treatment Ratings (available to subscribers) which are designed to help you discuss with your health care provider the best course of action and our advice on antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Super Gonorrhea: Scientists Discover Antibiotic-Resistant STD [ABCNews]