What Is Super Gonorrhea? A Guy In England Has The World'S Worst Case Of It
- A man in the U.K. has been diagnosed with the world's worst case of super-gonorrhea
- It's the first case of gonorrhea that is resistant to ceftriaxone and azithromycin, the two antibiotics recommended for treating the STI
- Super-gonorrhea is on the rise worldwide, and experts are concerned.
A man in the United Kingdom has been infected with the "world's worst" case of treatment-resistant gonorrhea, also known as "super-gonorrhea."
He started exhibiting symptoms a month after a sexual encounter with a woman in Southeast Asia, according to Public Health England — but when he sought medical attention, doctors found that his strain of gonorrhea didn't respond to first-line treatment.
What is super-gonorrhea, you ask?
Super-gonorrhea is nothing new. For years, concerns have been growing in the medical community about the uptick in gonorrhea cases that do not respond to the antibiotics used to treat the sexually transmitted infection.
In July, the World Health Organization said data from 77 countries revealed that gonorrhea was becoming increasingly difficult to treat worldwide.
"The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them," Dr. Teodora Wi, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction, at the World Health Organization, said in a statement at the time.
Why This Super-Gonorrhea Case Stands Out
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a dual therapy of two antibiotics to treat gonorrhea: ceftriaxone and azithromycin.
In past cases of super-gonorrhea, patients have shown resistance to one of the drugs—like this woman in Canada, whose gonorrhea was resistant to ceftriaxone.
The U.K. man's superbug is the first case to show resistance to both; according to the Public Health England report, it has "resistance" to ceftriaxone and "high-level" resistance to azithromycin.
"This is the first time a case has displayed such high-level resistance to both of these drugs and to most other commonly used antibiotics," Public Health England's Dr. Gwenda Hughes said, according to the BBC.
For now, the man is being treated with another antibiotic called ertapenem, which "may be an effective therapy," according to the report. Doctors will check up on his progress in April.
Gonorrhea Signs and Symptoms
In 2016, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 468,514 new cases of gonorrhea in the U.S. — an 18.5% increase from 2015.
Gonorrhea affects men and women, and can lead to infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat, according to the CDC. You can get it by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a person who has gonorrhea — so remember guys: wear a damn condom. Some men don't exhibit any symptoms, while others may experience burning during urination, discharge from the penis, or painful or swollen testicles.
For more information on drug-resistant gonorrhea, check out this video timeline from the CDC: