Gonorrhea is becoming harder and in some cases impossible to treat with antibiotics, the World Health Organization said. “The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are particularly smart. Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them,” said Teodora Wi, a human reproduction specialist at the WHO, in a news release.
Three superbugs — bacteria that cannot be killed by the best available drug — were detected in Japan, France and Spain, according to the WHO. “We need to be more vigilant now,” Wi told reporters in a phone briefing.
Each year, about 78 million people worldwide are infected with gonorrhea, the WHO said. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 820,000 new gonorrhea infections each year.
Data from 77 countries collected by WHO shows there is a widespread resistance to older, cheaper antibiotics and in some countries, the infection has became “untreatable by all known antibiotics,” the international health organization said in the news release.