Sex Superbug: Concerns About Drug Resistant Gonorrhea
Recent reports of a so-called "sex superbug" - a drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea - reaching the U.S. turned out to be false. The H041 strain hasn’t been detected since a case in Japan several years ago. But even though gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics, the health community remains concerned about the threat of drug-resistant strains of the sexually transmitted disease. Dr. Cedric Spak, with North Texas Infectious Diseases Consultants and Baylor Medical Center Dallas, explains why in this week’s edition of Vital Signs.
What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Anyone who has any type of sex can catch gonorrhea. The infection can be spread by contact with the mouth, vagina, penis, or anus.
The bacteria grow in warm, moist areas of the body, including the tube that carries urine out of the body (urethra). In women, the bacteria may be found in the reproductive tract (which includes the fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix). The bacteria can even grow in the eyes.
Health care providers in every state in the U.S. are required by law to tell their State Board of Health about anyone diagnosed with gonorrhea. The goal of this law is make sure the patient gets proper follow-up care and that their sexual partners are found and tested.
You are more likely to develop this infection if you:
- Have multiple sexual partners
- Have a partner with a past history of any sexually transmitted infection
- Do not use a condom during sex
- Abuse alcohol or illegal substances
- National Library of Medicine
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