U.S. public health officials' worst nightmares are becoming reality as news that an antibiotic-resistant strain of Gonorrhea has been detected in North American patients. A study released Wednesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association announced that it had discovered nine patients with a strain of the sexual transmitted disease that is immune to the last remaining effective antibiotic.
The discovery of these cases confirms fears of both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who last year warned that untreatable gonorrhea would soon become a reality.
Gonorrhea is the world's second most common STD. Each year, gonorrhea infects near to 700,000 Americans, producing symptoms including painful urination, abdominal pain, genital discharge, itching, and infertility in women.
Researchers observed that 6.7 percent of patients with gonorrhea at one Toronto clinic still had the disease after a round of cephalosporins, which is the last antibiotic that doctors are able to use to cure the disease.
Out of 133 patients who returned for a "test of cure" visit, nine remained positive with the disease. That is roughly one in 15 people.
This study has revealed for the first time that cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea had been found in humans in North America. Previously, studies have only noted individual case reports of untreatable gonorrhea cases in the U.K., Austria, France, Norway, and Japan.