Until recently, gonorrhoea was an easily treatable sexually transmitted disease.

Standard treatment involved several doses of antibiotics. However, recently scientists have been documenting the spread of “untreatable” gonorrhoea, which has grown resistant to most standard treatments.

In 2008, an antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhoea was discovered in Japan. It was classified as a “superbug” since it didn’t respond to any conventional treatments.

“This organism has basically been developing resistance against every medication we’ve thrown at it,” said Dr Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, a scientist in the agency’s department of sexually transmitted diseases. This includes a group of antibiotics called cephalosporins currently considered the last line of treatment. – NBC News

Since 2008, many other countries have reported encountering gonorrhoea that’s resistant to antibiotics. Affected countries include:

  • Japan
  • Australia
  • France
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Britain

As of right now, antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea hasn’t been detected in the United States.

More than 106 million people are infected with gonorrhoea each year, with around 700,000 of these cases being in the United States. If the spread of this particular strain of gonorrhoea continues, it could transform into a significant threat to public health.

If left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause a number of potentially serious complications, especially for pregnant women.