The World Health Organization is warning that a new strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea is spreading across the world—and treatment options are running out.
The mutant strain is resistant to most, if not all, antibiotics currently used to treat the common sexually transmitted infection. First detected 11 months ago in Japan, it has now been reported in Australia, France, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, untreated gonorrhea can have serious and permanent complications, including chronic pain, infertility and even death. It can also increase the risk of infection with HIV.
The WHO is calling for research into new drugs to help prevent that scenario. Part of the problem, too, is the overuse of antibiotics, which is why the WHO wants to see tighter rules on the use of antibiotics, as well as greater monitoring of drug-resistant cases.