The World Health Organization (WHO) recently warned of a major public health crisis. A gonorrhea superbug is apparently resistant to antibiotics, said the Daily Beast.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) followed the WHO warning saying virtually untreatable forms of drug-resistant gonorrhea were spreading around the world, reported Reuters.
Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually-transmitted diseases (STD). It’s spread through oral, vaginal and anal sex. About 106 million people worldwide become infected every year.
This strain of gonorrhea is particularly dangerous, since it doesn’t respond to cephalosporin antibiotics, the last antibiotic left that can treat gonorrhea, wrote the Daily Beast.
CNN.com reported Australia, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom are among the countries reporting cases of gonorrhea that don’t respond to cephalosporin antibiotics.
Marc Sprenger, ECDC's director, said the increase in cases of superbug strains meant there was a risk gonorrhea may become an untreatable disease in the near future wrote Reuters.
"Once this organism develops full resistance to this last antibiotic we have, we have nothing else to offer to these patients," said Dr. Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, scientist at the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO told CNN.com.
Without treatment, gonorrhea can cause infertility, miscarriages, and eye infections and blindness in babies born with the STD.
WHO doesn’t know the extent of the spread of drug-resistant gonorrhea yet, said CNN.com.
The infections don't seem to be as resistant in the United States as in some of the other countries, but there is increased susceptibility, Lusti-Narasimhan said. More worldwide surveillance is needed to fully assess how widespread these resistant infections are.
"If the resistance is there, what we think is that we’re sitting at a tip of an iceberg," Lusti-Narasimhan said. "For places in many other parts of the world where there are much less both human and financial resources, it’s very difficult to know the extent of the data," added CNN.com.