A strain of "super-gonorrhoea" is spreading throughout the United Kingdom.
Believed to have originated in Leeds, the new strain of super gonorrhoea is drug resistant, rendering the normal antibiotic treatment method to be useless. Twelve cases of infection are currently confirmed and four more cases have been reported, according to Metro.
The severity of the situation has led researchers to scramble for a cure before the new strain becomes the prominent strain in the United Kingdom. Peter Greenhouse, a sexual health consultant, shared that reaching everyone that has come in contract with the strain of super-gonorrhoea is a priority.
"If this becomes the predominant strain in the UK we're in big trouble, so we have to be really meticulous in making sure each of these individuals has all their contacts traced and treated."
Azithromycin is the antibiotic that normally treats gonorrhoea infections in individuals, but it has no effect on the new strain. If a new treatment is not found soon, the outbreak could reach epidemic proportions, assuming the strain is not spread internationally.
Dr. Jan Clarke, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, shared that all infected individuals have been heterosexual thus far, according to BBC News. Regardless of the sexual preferences of the infected individuals, Clarke is concerned that the entire nation could be at risk.
"It was sufficiently serious to alert our whole national chain of clinics that there is the possibility that we've got a very resistant strain of gonorrhoea.We are really skating on thin ice as far as treating gonorrhoea is concerned at the moment."
Gonorrhoea is spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex, and symptoms include yellow discharge, painful urination, and bleeding. In England, gonorrhoea is the second most common sexually transmitted disease, equaling 34,958 in 2014. Although the new strain is only known to have infected the 12 confirmed individuals, growing worry of widespread of the new strain has doctors worried over an increase in the number of cases over a short period of time.
The bacteria that causes gonorrhoea is known to mutate from time to time, but the newest strain of super-gonorrhoea was unexpected, and it is spreading much faster than they can find a cure. Investigations into the new strain are being conducted, but it will take some time to find a new treatment. Meanwhile, sexually active individuals are urged to use condoms for all sexual activity, including anal, oral, and vaginal.
[Photo Courtesy: CDC]