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Gonorrhea Superbug: First Antibiotic-Resistant STD Strain Discovered

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 07/11/11 11:20 AM ET Updated: 09/10/11 06:12 AM ET

Gonorrhea Superbug

Scientists have found the first "superbug" strain of gonorrhea -- a discovery they're calling "both alarming and predictable."

Found in Japan, the H041 strain is resistant to the class of antibiotics, called cephalosporins, commonly used to treat the STD.

This could "transform a once easily treatable infection into a global public health threat," reports Reuters.

Gonorrhea has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics for several years now, and the percentage of cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea cases in the U.S. is on the rise, according to the CDC's latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

From the CDC report:

Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), can have serious health consequences, including infertility in women, and can increase a person's risk for acquiring HIV.

While antibiotics can successfully treat gonorrhea, over time the bacteria has developed resistance to several of these drugs ... CDC now recommends only one class of antibiotics, called cephalosporins .. however, findings from the recent analysis signal the potential for resistance to cephalosporins, the last line of defense for treating gonorrhea.

The term superbug refers to a bacteria that's able to survive exposure to antibiotics -- most likely because it genetically evolved to resist them.

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