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Drug-resistant gonorrhea strain classified as 'urgent threat'

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea has been declared an "urgent threat" by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency has never before classified infectious diseases with threat levels, though now has labeled the strain of gonorrhea and two other diseases as serious threats to the American public.

Gonorrhea superbug
The term "superbug" is often used to describe strains of viruses and infectious diseases that are resistant to drugs, according to CNBC. This strain of gonorrhea, the second most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., has infected an estimated 246,000 Americans and is being described by many as a superbug due to its resistance to antibiotics.

Each year, there are more than 800,000 new gonorrhea infections. More than a quarter of these infections are of the drug-resistant strain, which members of the CDC estimated to have a potential cost of hundreds of millions of dollars due to increased complications.

"The strain is tricky. And it's asymptomatic, meaning people might not know they have it because they are not showing symptoms for it. And we don't have the diagnostics to know what type of mutations are happening," William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, told the news source.

The infection has not been responding to oral antibiotics. Some measure of success has been found with ceftriaxone, a strong antibiotic that is delivered through a painful shot.

Increased complications from gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is an STD that can cause many complications, one of which is pelvic inflammatory disease. Those diagnosed with gonorrhea from STD tests are more likely to contract this disease, which can lead to infertility. Untreated gonorrhea infections can also make those diagnosed with the disease more likely to be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.

Many people do not know they have gonorrhea, as it can be asymptomatic. Only STD testing can reveal the status of gonorrhea, including the new superbug. While this strain is difficult to fight, many STDs can easily be treated. For those seeking a discreet diagnosis, an anonymous STD test can provide all of the answers without a visit to a doctor's office or a clinic. Anyone with new partners or who has not used proper protection should consider a lab test online.

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