A Strain of Antibiotic-Resistant ‘Super Gonorrhea’ is Emerging in 2021

Super Gonorrhea

A potential STI outbreak is on the horizon towards the end of 2020. With the COVID-19 vaccine developed and in the process of being distributed, there seems to be a new found hope. As we all anticipate a better new year, 2021 may enter in new challenges that some of us may not have foreseen.

The year 2020 is concluding with the arising of “Super Gonorrhea,” an antibiotic-resistant sexually transmitted infection that is spreading quickly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The overuse of antibiotics to treat COVID-19, specifically Azithromycin, are contributing to the development of a gonorrhea “superbug” that is highly resistant to the current treatments for gonorrhea.

“Overuse of antibiotics in the community can fuel the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in gonorrhea,” a World Health Organization spokesperson told The Sun. “Such a situation can fuel emergence of resistance in gonorrhea including gonorrhea superbug (super gonorrhea) or gonorrhea with high level resistance to current antibiotics recommended to treat it.”

The infamous “Super Gonorrhea” has been brewing for the last few years, becoming evident as early as 2017

“[In 2017] the World Health Organization (WHO) listed such strains of N. gonorrhoeae on its world’s most dangerous superbugs list,” according to Forbes. The  term “superbug” is used to categorize bacteria that are highly antibiotic-resistant and are at risk for being untreatable. 

“The list highlights in particular the threat of gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics,” according to the World Health Organization website. “These bacteria have built-in abilities to find new ways to resist treatment and can pass along genetic material that allows other bacteria to become drug-resistant as well.”

With medical doctors scurrying to solve COVID-19, proper STI treatments have been put on the backburner. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has closed down non-essential businesses like health services, there may be people who have undiagnosed “Super Gonorrhea.”

While most of us take the utmost precaution in order not to catch gonorrhea—or any other STD— those who find themselves as unlucky members of the gonorrhea gang still may have a way out. That is if your gonorrhea is still uncomplicated. 

“For treatment of uncomplicated urogenital, rectal, or pharyngeal gonorrhea, CDC recommends a single 500 mg IM dose of ceftriaxone,” according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although ceftriaxone is the current treatment, In 2018 a UK man contracted the superbug after a sexual encounter in Southeast Asia and his gonococcal infection was resistant to ceftriaxone. Hopefully none of you become the unlucky fellow in the UK. 

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