A new drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea could be worse than AIDS, doctors warn, as the previously treatable sexually transmitted infection becomes increasingly widespread and resistant to antibiotic treatment.
The super-strain of gonorrhea is known as HO41 and is part of a rising trend of bacterial infections growing resistant to available antibiotics.
The drug resistant strains of gonorrhea and similar infections such as MRSA have been attributed to overuse of antibiotics, and experts have long warned that the issue will only worsen in coming years.
Last August, doctors sounded the alarm over the new super gonorrhea strain, with the CDC indicating there could be a possibility the bug would evolve to become untreatable:
“Cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea could potentially mean untreatable gonorrhea. Untreatable gonorrhea is a real possibility.”
Doctors were advised to refrain from prescribing all but one antibiotic in an attempt to curb the prevalence of resistant strains of gonorrhea:
“The change in antibiotic treatment guidelines we are making today is a critical pre-emptive strike to preserve the last effective treatment option… This will not solve the problem of drug-resistant gonorrhea once and for all, but it may buy us time to allow researchers and drug developers to develop new treatments.”
Warnings were again issued this year about the spread of Cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea as it was observed in emerging infection reports.
Doctors now warn the rise of incurable gonorrhea has not abated and that the infection can be more serious than even the development of AIDS.
Doctor Alan Christianson tells CNBC:
“This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly … Getting gonorrhea from this strain might put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days. This is very dangerous.”
The resistant strain of gonorrhea has not caused any recorded deaths so far.