Doctors Say the First Case of Super-Gonorrhea Resistant to Antibiotics Was Just Confirmed in the UK

Friday, 30 March 2018 - 11:18AM
Friday, 30 March 2018 - 11:18AM
Doctors Say the First Case of Super-Gonorrhea Resistant to Antibiotics Was Just Confirmed in the UK
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Putting the word "super" in front of anything makes it sound 10 times more extreme (superstorm, supermarket, Super Mario), which is exactly the point. When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, the normal kinds are already not desired, so you can imagine what an unidentified man in the UK felt when doctors told him that he had contracted "super-gonorrhea," and that common antibiotics would do nothing to help him.

According to National Geographic, the case of venereal disease is being called the "worst ever" and is the first time on record that the infection (caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae) has proven to be untreatable.


The health protection report from Public Health England says that the man got super-gonorrhea after a sexual encounter with a woman in Southeast Asia, but it does not specify the country. A month after the encounter, he began experiencing symptoms and went to health officials in England for treatment. They tried both azithromycin and ceftriaxone to no avail, and were forced to switch to  ertapenem, which so far seems to be working on the resilient infection.

"We are following up this case to ensure that the infection was effectively treated with other options and the risk of any onward transmission is minimized," said Gwenda Hughes of Public Health England. 

This happened in the UK, but an estimated 820,000 unlucky people in the United States contract gonorrhea every year.


Most people who get the disease are asymptomatic (producing or showing no symptoms), while others experience painful urination and genital discharge. It can be passed on to children during pregnancy, but once you've been treated of gonorrhea, you can't get it again. The odds of getting super-gonorrhea are unknown right now, being that this is the first reported case, but the virus has been getting stronger over the years.

So how do you avoid being like that poor chap in the UK? Well abstinence is probably the best way, but also the least fun. If you absolutely must be sexually active, we'd recommend all the same things you learned in grade school sex-ed: use protection, communicate with your partner(s), and get regular check-ups, or maybe even super-check-ups.

Science News