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WASHINGTON — Disturbing reports in Japan of a new strain of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is causing concern in America, and research centers are working to find new combinations of drugs to combat the super-STD.
“What we’re talking about is the common sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea — that years and years ago was easily treated with a shot of penicillin — that over the years has developed a resistance to commonly used antibiotics,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told WTOP on Wednesday.
“When you have that (in Japan), inevitably it spreads around the world,” Fauci said.
Gonorrhea, sometimes nicknamed “the clap,” is a common bacterial infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is estimated 820,000 Americans get new gonorrhea infections each year. It’s spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex and symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating or a white, yellow or green discharge in both men and women.
Historically, the infection has been easily treated with antibiotics, Fauci said.
“This is a serious disease that we have to keep an eye on,” Fauci said. “But I don’t think it’s appropriate to compare it to AIDS.”
However, Fauci says the problem of drug-resistant bacteria should not be underestimated, and the CDC and National Institutes of Health are currently testing and recommending new combinations of drugs in anticipation of the resistant strain and “to stay a couple of steps ahead of the evolution of resistance.”
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