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Medical News

CDC Warns Untreatable Gonorrhea Is on the Way

February 15, 2012

Gonorrhea is increasingly showing resistance to one of the last known effective antibiotic treatments, and researchers say it is time to "sound the alarm" about the potential for untreatable forms of the STD.

"During the past three years, the wily gonococcus has become less susceptible to our last line of antimicrobial defense, threatening our ability to cure gonorrhea," Dr. Gail Bolan, director of CDC's STD prevention program, and colleagues wrote in a perspective piece.

Gonorrhea has had a long history of developing resistance to antibiotics, CDC notes, but more effective drugs have usually been available to treat patients. However, today about 1.7 percent of gonorrhea cases are resistant to cephalosporins, the last line of defense against the STD. That is a 17-fold increase in such resistance since 2006, when surveillance data showed the prevalence of resistance was 0.1 percent.

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