New Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea Strain Detected

A new strain of gonorrhea resistant to antibiotics has been identified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, surviving up to five different treatments, in two infected patients who were cured by doctors.

Both patients were treated with ceftriaxone, the only remaining treatment recommended for gonorrhea. As of Thursday, authorities said there was no known connection between the cases and that contact tracing was being done to see if there were other infections.

Treatment For The Disease

For years, experts have warned against declining treatment for the disease, which is transmitted sexually and is one of the most common STDs in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC). This strain of gonorrhea has previously been seen in Asia-Pacific countries and the United Kingdom, but not in the United States.

“The discovery of this strain of gonorrhea is a serious public health concern that the DPH, CDC and other health departments have been vigilant about detecting in the United States,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke. “We urge all sexually active people to be regularly tested for sexually transmitted infections and to consider reducing the number of their sexual partners and increasing the use of condoms when having sex. Clinicians are encouraged to review the clinical alert and assist with our expanded surveillance efforts.”

Gonorrhea has been on the rise in Massachusetts and across the United States, adding to concerns about the possible spread of this harder-to-treat strain.

The alert recommends increased use of laboratory culture tests for people with gonorrhea symptoms to detect antibiotic resistance and reminds providers of the process for submitting gonorrhea samples to the State Public Health Laboratory.

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