An Austrian man has reportedly contracted a new antibiotic-resistant “super gonorrhea” strain. According to the World Health Organization, the term super gonorrhea defines a strain that has a high level of resistance to recommended treatments.
The man had unprotected sex with a female sex worker in Cambodia back in April. Five days after his encounter he started experiencing pain while peeing and had discharge coming out of his penis.
Lab tests showed that the strain the man, who is in his 50s, contracted was highly resistant to azithromycin. That is typically one of the first antibiotics used to treat gonorrhea. The strain was also resistant to several other antibiotics.
This isn’t the first time that a super gonorrhea strain has been detected
This isn’t the first time that a super gonorrhea strain has been detected. In 2018 another strain of the antibiotic-resistant sexually transmitted disease was found in multiple countries.
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is the second most common sexually transmitted infection after chlamydia. It mostly affects the urethra, cervix, rectum or throat.
The symptoms including painful urination, discharge from the tip of the penis, pain or swelling in one testicle, increased vaginal discharge, and vaginal bleeding between periods. If it isn’t treated properly gonorrhea can lead to more severe complications. Those include infertility, an increased risk of HIV, and can potentially spread to other parts of the body, such as the joints.
This drug appeared to finally treat the super gonorrhea
In the US, the CDC recommends the antibiotic ceftriaxone for most gonorrhea cases in the first instance. The Australian man was initially treated with azithromycin and ceftriaxone.
After a couple of weeks his symptoms did clear up, but tests revealed that he still had gonorrhea. He was then treated with an antibiotic containing penicillin called co-amoxiclav. This drug appeared to finally treat the super gonorrhea.
In a report published in the the medical journal Eurosurveillance, which is published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the authors expressed concerns about the continued spread of multidrug-resistant strains of gonorrhea. They point out that if the spread continues then many case of the STD could become untreatable. Thus creating an increased threat to public health.