Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Discovered

A drug-resistant strain of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea, or “the Clap,” has been found in Japan, scientists revealed.

Researcher Magnus Unemo of the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria said the “superbug” was discovered in samples taken from the Japanese city of Kyoto. Unemo said the new strain, H041, is resistant to all known antibiotics used to treat gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. “This is both an alarming and a predictable discovery,” Unemo said. “Since antibiotics became the standard treatment for gonorrhea in the 1940s, this bacterium has shown a remarkable capacity to develop resistance mechanisms to all drugs introduced to control it.”

The new discovery was presented Monday at the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research in Quebec, Canada. Researchers said that although the strain has been found only in Japan, it is not yet clear if it already exists in other parts of the world. “While it is still too early to assess if this new strain has become widespread, the history of newly emergent resistance in the bacterium suggests that it may spread rapidly unless new drugs and effective treatment programs are developed,” Unemo said.