Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

News

Please Unleash Godzilla Instead, Super Drug Resistant Gonorrhea Found In Japan

gonorrhea-microbe.jpg
Photo by ecastro via Flickr
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

A superhero strain of the sexually transmitted infection, gonorrhea, has been discovered in Japan. Seemingly resistant to all recommended antibiotics, officials say the new strain, H041, could "transform a once easily treatable infection into a global public health threat," according to KTLA.

The new strain of the sexually transmitted disease -- called H041 -- cannot be killed by any currently recommended treatments for gonorrhea, leaving doctors with no other option than to try medicines so far untested against the disease. Magnus Unemo of the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria, who discovered the strain with colleagues from Japan in samples from Kyoto, described it as both "alarming" and "predictable."

Antibiotics have been the standard treatment for gonorrhea since the 1940s, but the "bacterium" have developed "resistance mechanisms" to fight the drugs. Historically, Japan has shown "first emergence and subsequent global spread" of various types of drug-resistant strains and H041 has now shown resistance to the cephalosporin-class of antibiotics, the last remaining antibiotics effective in treating gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea drug-resistance has also been reported in Hong Kong, China, and Australia prompting British scientists to take note last year of "gonorrhea becoming a superbug -- a bacteria that has mutated and become resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics."

Support for LAist comes from

According to the CDC, the number of gonorrhea cases in the United States is estimated at around 700,000 per year. Among people aged 15 to 49, the World Health Organization estimates at least 340 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis) per year.