By Ken Buben, President, FancyScrubs.com
Worried scientists have confirmed with the World Health Organization that a new, mutant strain of gonorrhea that is resistant to antibiotics has been isolated in a sex trade worker in Japan.
The strain that used to be easily treated with penicillin and other antibiotics but is now feared to have mutated into a super-bug. Swedish researches say if it spreads now they don’t know what would be the recommended treatment.
An entire symposium at the meeting of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases Research -which attracts experts from microbiology, virology and immunobiology, behavioural sciences, public health and prevention policy -will be devoted to the subject at the meeting today.
Historically, new strains have emerged in the western Pacific region, Japan or Korea, and then rapidly spread globally. This new strain, dubbed H041, has proven resistance to the last remaining treatment option available, cephalosporins, a fourth generation class of antibiotics.
According to the CDC, there are an estimated 700,000 new cases of gonorrhea in the U.S. each year. Gonorrhoea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world.
Gonorrhea can show up without symptoms in 50 percent of infected women. Most infected men find it extremely painful (about two to five per cent do not have symptoms) and describe it as like urinating razor blades.
Untreated, gonorrhea can lead to severe, life-threatening complications if it spreads to the blood and the joints, in both men and women.
The best way to avoid the spread of this new super-bug is prevention. Use latex condoms when with a new partner and get tested regularly. Any symptoms such as discharge, burning during urination or an unusual sore or rash should be a signal to stop having sex and see a doctor immediately. If tested positive one should notify their recent partners so they can be tested too and avoid spreading the infection further.