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Second Strain of ‘Super Gonorrhea’ Discovered

Health

Bacteria being tested in a petri dish. | Image by Shutterstock

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A new strain of so-called “super gonorrhea” has been discovered in an Austrian man after he allegedly engaged in a condomless tryst with a sex worker in Cambodia.

Gonorrhea, a common sexually-transmitted infection (STI), has been successfully treated with antibiotics for decades. However, the Austrian man’s contagion marks the second time an antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea has appeared.


European researchers published a study on the bacterial anomaly in April, noting that the specimen was resistant to ceftriaxone, cefixime, cefotaxime, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, and tetracycline — some of the most common antibiotics used to treat STIs.

The Austrian man suffered from “painful urination and urethral discharge” five days after his encounter with the sex worker. Upon returning to Austria, he consulted a urology department, and doctors there administered a urethral swab to obtain a bacterial culture sample.

Gonorrhea was detected, so the man was prescribed ceftriaxone and azithromycin. While his symptoms did clear, the man tested positive at a follow-up examination when doctors administered a PCR test.

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are widely considered by doctors and researchers as more accurate than bacterial cultures.

Doctors prescribed the still-infected man amoxicillin-clavulanic acid. After finishing his medication, he underwent another urethral swab, which tested negative. However, according to the researchers’ study, the man did not leave a urine sample for PCR testing.

After reviewing all available samples and testing them against a battery of antibiotics, the researchers concluded that they were dealing with a new antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea.

The first iteration of “super gonorrhea” occurred in 2018, appearing in an individual who reportedly contracted it in Southeast Asia. The strain subsequently made appearances in Australia, France, Japan, and Spain, according to The Epoch Times.

Public health authorities are sounding the alarm over the potential spread of “super gonorrhea.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention described it as an “urgent public threat,” stating on its website, “We are currently down to one last recommended and effective class of antibiotics, cephalosporins, to treat this common infection.”     

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