Contracting a sexually transmitted disease is one thing but catching a heightened strain of it is another. One man will have to now take the pain with the pleasure he experienced after contracting a new strain of “super gonorrhea.” Scientists investigated the case and filed a case report about the new development.
The unidentified Austrian man in his fifties had condomless sex with a female sex worker in Cambodia in April 2022. According to the case report, five days later, he experienced pain while peeing and had discharge coming out of his penis.
After getting tested, the swab showed the strain he caught was highly resistant to azithromycin, which is normally one of the first antibiotics used to treat gonorrhea. He was also resistant to many other antibiotics used to fight gonorrhea.
The man was initially treated with a mixture of azithromycin and ceftriaxone, which is most common in the United States. Two weeks later, his symptoms resolved but a penile swab showed he still had gonorrhea. Tests later showed his “super” bug was still susceptible to treatment with an antibiotic containing penicillin called co-amoxiclav. The drug appeared to treat the gonorrhea.
Promisingly, the man’s swab results suggested two experimental drugs called lefamulin and zoliflodacin. These two medicines are being tested in a late-stage clinical trial but seemed encouraging to fight against the strain.
Using condoms is one of the most common and easiest ways to avoid catching gonorrhea. In this man’s case, it could have prevented his infection and a new strain from emerging. Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infections in the U.S., with more than 1.5 million Americans catching it each year.
This isn’t the first time that a strain of super gonorrhea has been detected. In 2018, another was found across multiple countries. According to the World Health Organization, the term “super gonorrhea” refers to a bug that has a high level of resistance to recommended treatments.