Gonorrhea resistant to antibiotics is developing in countries across the world, according to the World Health Organization. Traditional treatments could cease working on the super virus in only a few years.
Gonorrhea resistant to most drugs is worrying researchers, who have since developed a "global action plan" to limit the spread of the disease. As the STD is the second most common in the world with 106 million new cases reported every year, medical providers hope to raise awareness and find a cure.
"This organism has basically been developing resistance against every medication we've thrown at it," Dr. Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, a scientist for the World Health Organization, told the Associated Press. "In a couple of years it will have become resistant to every treatment option we have available now."
Exacerbating the problem is that manufacturers have relied on the same antibiotics for years to treat the STD, and now, no other treatments are available.
"We are very concerned about recent reports of treatment failure from the last effective treatment option- the class of cephalosporin antibiotics- as there are no new therapeutic drugs in development," Lusti-Narasimhan explained. "If gonococcal infections become untreatable, the health implications are significant."
For the countries in which the super virus gonorrhea has been found- Japan, the U.K. Australia, France, Sweden, and Norway- WHO encourages stricter use of antibiotics, and more research to determine if new treatments or a cure can be found. In addition, cases of super gonorrhea will be documented to increase prevention.
So far, there have only been about 1.7 of reported gonorrhea cases that are drug resistant, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. However, this is another cause for concern, as when the cases were first discovered in 2006, they were only 0.1 percent of new cases.
"There is much to do, and the threat of untreatable gonorrhea is emerging rapidly," the authors of a New England Journal of Medicine study wrote in February.
Gonorrhea comes with serious health problems if left untreated, like infertility, increased HIV risk, cervix and rectum infections, ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and eye infections leading to blindness in 50 percent of newborns whose mothers have the STD.