CDC: Gonorrhea Super Strain May Become 'Untreatable'

by

Gonorrhea is on the path to becoming completely untreatable, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Federal officials are warning that there is only one class of antibiotics left to treat the bacteria, and that it could soon become untreatable.

Reuters reports that the CDC no longer recommends using cefixime, also known as "Suprax," because it has lost its effectiveness. The news means that there is only one drug, ceftriaxone, which is taken in injections in combination with other antibiotics, that is able to treat the infection.

The new treatment guidelines by the CDC are an attempt to prevent the disease from becoming completely resistant to drugs.

"This is really a preemptive strike to help preserve the effectiveness of ceftriaxone, (which is) really our last remaining drug that forms the foundation of our treatment options," Robert Kirkcaldy of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention told MedPage Today.

Bloomberg reports that antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea has been reported in 17 European countries in 2010, up from 10 countries a year earlier.

Additionally, a new gonorrhea superbug, resistant to all treatment, is slowly gaining traction. In the past decade, new strains have been reported in France, Japan and Spain.

The new guidelines, along with warnings against unprotected sex, appear in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report put out by the CDC.

Boise Weekly recently examined the increase number of cases of syphillis and chlamydia at the Central District Health Department.

"Right now, [syphills cases are up] up 200 percent," said Sarah Correll, CDHD epidemiologist. "When you consider that each of the confirmed cases is typically linked to multiple partners, it grows exponentially. And, yes, if it continues at this rate, it looks like we could be up 400 percent from last year."

Chlamydia is by far the most-common sexually transmitted disease in the region. Statewide, 4,705 cases were confirmed in 2011, of which 1,630 were reported in the CDHD, which includes Ada, Elmore, Boise and Valley counties.