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Super Gonorrhea: Scientists Discover Antibiotic-Resistant STD

Scientists have discovered a new strain of gonorrhea-causing bacteria in Japan that is resistant to available treatments.

Since the 1940s, the sexually transmitted disease known as "the clap" has been easily treated with antibiotics. But the new strain of Neisseria gonorrhoeae has genetically mutated to evade cephalosporins -- the only antibiotics still effective against the infection.

"This is both an alarming and a predictable discovery," lead researcher Magnus Unemo, professor at the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria in Örebro, Sweden, said in a statement. "Since antibiotics became the standard treatment for gonorrhea in the 1940s, this bacterium has shown a remarkable capacity to develop resistance mechanisms to all drugs introduced to control it."

The discovery, announced by Unemo at the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research meeting in Quebec City, Canada, could hail gonorrhea's transition from treatable STD to global public health threat.

"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," Unemo said in a statement.
 
 

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