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New ‘concerning’ strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea found in U.S. for 1st time



A strain of gonorrhea that’s resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics recently infected two people in Massachusetts, the state’s Department of Public Health announced (opens in new tab) Thursday (Jan. 19). This is the first time that “resistance or reduced response to five classes of antibiotics has been identified in gonorrhea in the United States,” the department reported.

Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Over time, the bacterium has grown resistant to most antibiotics historically used to kill it, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in new tab) (CDC) states that “it’s only a matter of time” until it becomes resistant to the only treatment that’s currently recommended, an antibiotic called ceftriaxone. (Under specific circumstances (opens in new tab), other antibiotics may still be used instead of ceftriaxone, but they’re not widely recommended.)



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