Gonorrhea, a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmitted through unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sexual intercourse, has given us plenty of troubles over the years. As if it was not enough to struggle with the multiple complications of untreated gonorrhea infections. Now we have to find a solution to overcome a new super gonorrhea strain that apparently is resistant to all of the previously used medications.
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In the past, although the number of new gonorrhea cases was growing, reaching a total of 583,405 new cases in the United States alone back in 2018, it was still very possible to treat this horrible infection within a few weeks. And that was all thanks to the broad use of once-reliable medications such as penicillin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin. But apparently, that is not the case anymore, now that doctors have come face to face with a new super strain.
A new case of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea strain discovered
Since the discovery of penicillin, it seemed as we would have control over the situation that involved the high rate of gonorrhea cases and potentially dangerous complications, which we did, but apparently not for too long. Although there were other factors involved in the continuous outbreak of gonorrhea cases, with the use of penicillin and other reliable medications, we could offer some good news to the infected ones.
That is, of course, until a man in Britan, back in 2018, has shown up at the hospital asking for help. He had noticed the usual gonorrhea symptoms such as a pus-like discharge from the penis, frequent urination, pain and swelling in the testicles, etc. after engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with a woman from South East Asia. Although there were no major differences in the way that the bacteria have been transmitted and the symptoms that have been causing, there was something different about this case that made it unique.
After the man had been examined, and a present gonorrhea infection has been confirmed, the usual treatment combining azithromycin and ceftriaxone has been used. Until then, there was no doubt that this treatment would be anything but successful. However, when the patient did not experience any improvement in the present symptoms, the doctors started to wonder what was so special about this case.
What they quickly discovered was that what they were facing was a special, super-gonorrhea strain, as they had referred to it. The usual cocktail of medications, recommended by the World Health Organization, could not help against this new gonorrhea strain since the strain has shown extra resistance against the used antibiotics, and it was unlike anything that these doctors have seen or read about ever before.
And this was actually not the first time that doctors have been dealing with an antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea strain. In the past, there have been reported cases of this kind in France, Japan, and Spain. In fact, it was back in 2010 when Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria responsible for causing this awful infection, first showed any resistance towards the usually used antibiotics to conquer it.
It was back in 2013 when gonorrhea was named to be the third most urgent antibiotic-resistant threat in the United States. But what made this case different from the others is the fact that this was yet the most resistant gonorrhea strain ever. This led to people referring to this case as the world’s worst gonorrhea case ever.
What does this mean?
Although we can still rely on penicillin to do the job, it is only a matter of time when the super strain will become more and more common. This new super-resistant gonorrhea strain has made scientists and researchers all over the world to rethink the usual strategies that have been used so far to overcome an existing gonorrhea infection. And they are right to do so because if we are interested in preserving our health and life, we need new fighting strategies that will help us in the process.
Currently, there is a new Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria strategy developed by The White House, with Congress allocating funds for research and development of new drugs that will help reduce the number of new cases of this antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea strain. The process would involve developing a drug that specifically targets gonorrhea, especially this new super-strain of hers.
But while on the path towards discovering new strategies to combat this new super gonorrhea strain, we also need to think about the reasons that have led to its development in the first place. And it did not take a long time to figure that it was the overuse of penicillin and other antibiotics used to treat gonorrhea that helped this strain to become more and more resistant.
So while trying to figure out a new way to treat the new super-strain, we also need to make an effort to reduce the extremely high rates of gonorrhea. This would give us a head start in the situation and help us protect more people against this horrible infection. Of course, practicing safe, protected sex and getting informed about the possible sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are the best prevention methods that we can rely on.
But with all the research and prevention methods that can be used, this super-strain, as well as any other common sexually transmitted disease (STD), is not to be underestimated especially if we think about being in a fight against an STI that can potentially and very easily transmit from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. If we are facing desperation and struggling to eliminate this super strain within adults, imagine what we would face if we let little babies be infected with it.