British health officials are warning sexually active people around the world about a Gonorrhoea superbug, or drug-resistant strain, which is spreading rapidly across the globe.
Nearly 21,000 new cases of the common sexually transmitted infection (STI) cropped up in England in 2011—that’s a 25-percent increase of diagnosis in just the past year.
The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) released a statement that reported approximately one third of those diagnosed with gonorrhoea were gay men, with another one third of cases found in individuals who’ve previously had gonorrhea in the past.
Trouble is due to overuse of antibiotics, the STI bacteria has mutated and is now showing resistance to cephalosporins, the antibiotic drug normally prescribed to treat the disease. Last year, the World Health Organization identified this strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea, and warned that due to its resistance to all antibiotic medications; it could easily become a global health threat.
“We are seriously concerned about continuing high levels of gonorrhoea transmission and repeat infection,” said Gwenda Hughes, the HPA’s head of STI surveillance.
Gonorrhoea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world, with a reported 700,000 cases just in the US. The bacterial STI is typically easily treatable, but lack of medication can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in both effected males and females.