Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea Arrives in North America

Gonorrhea resistant to antibiotics has been reported for some time. What you should be concerned about is that it has now arrived in North America:

GonorrheaIn a study released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a group of scientists led by Vanessa Allen of Public Health Ontario, found that 6.7 percent of patients with gonorrhea at a Toronto clinic still had the disease after a round of cephalosporins, the last effective oral antibiotic used to treat the disease. Of 133 patients who returned for a "test of cure" visit, nine remained gonorrhea-positive. This is the first time cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea has been found in humans in North America.

"These are the clinical cases we've been waiting for," Allen says. "This is the translation of the lab information into what the clinical consequence is."

The report:

In an accompanying editorial, Robert D. Kirkcaldy, M.D., M.P.H., of the Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues write that the findings of this study, of documented cephalosporin treatment failures in North America, although expected, “its arrival is deeply troubling; clinicians now face the emergence of cephalosporin-resistant N gonorrhoeae without any well-studied, effective backup treatment options.”

“New antibiotics for treating gonococcal infections are needed. A clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases examining novel combinations of existing drugs just completed enrollment, and a small study of a new oral agent is ongoing. But the antibiotic pipeline is running dry: continued investment in antibiotic development is critical. Meanwhile, the gonococcus has continued to develop the capability to defeat each new antibiotic used. The threat of drug-resistant gonorrhea is increasing and has reached North America. Clinicians, drug developers, and public health professionals must act now.”

UPDATE: A better article from NPR notes that the gonorrhea can be eventually cured at this stage:

…even in the Canadian study, all patients eventually recovered when they were given larger doses of cefixime or a related antibiotic. Nevertheless, there have been worrying signs of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea in the U.S.


  1. ratbastard says

    Gay men are at the forefront in sexually transmitted diseases, especially the increasingly difficult to treat ones. And this is the case for obvious reasons. The widespread substance abuse among gay men certainly doesn’t help the situation either.


    Antibiotics have been grossly over-used and abused especially in the U.S. for many years [decades]. Big pharma naturally make big $ for introducing and marketing differentiated drug products. But the problem is antibiotics but many other drugs, prescription and over the counter, are badly abused. It’s reached an epidemic tipping point. And this situation greatly contributes [along with illegal street substance and alcohol abuse] to weakened immune systems.

  2. BeeBee says

    And to you, Lars: Three cheers for the old-fashioned and narrow-minded condemnation of behaviors of which you don’t approve. The world would be a lot happier place, (and much less hysterical ignorant), if we could see viruses and bacteria for what they are, viruses and bacteria. If you don’t like that some people have more sex than you, say that, but stop trying to pin the “Scarlet A” on others by reminding them of the hell and brimstone which will rain down on them if they engage in such behaviors. That kind of thinking is so 1670.

  3. Nat says

    “hell and brimstone which will rain down on them if they engage in such behaviors.”

    I think hell and brimstone is an apt metaphor for the kind of physical suffering that people who contract untreatable STIs will be forced to endure.

    This is potentially the tip of a massive iceberg. There is an inherent message to this about modifying sexual behaviour. Trying to make this about sexual puritanism is nothing but a cop out in place of a serious discussion.

  4. Fancypants says

    The difference here is that gonorrhea is fairly easily transmitted in both directions and therefore is likely to impact heterosexuals in the same fashion as homosexuals. That makes it far more likely for pharma companies to bother investing in finding stronger antibiotics for drug-resistant clap. This article never said these were mostly gay men who were contracting it. I don’t know why we are always the first to assume we are the only social group having sex. Most of my girlfirends and straight guy friends get laid all the time, and unlike me, they almost never wear rubbers.

  5. ratbastard says


    Male to male and male to female transmission of diseases is easier than female to male. And females in general are more prone to various types of infections as well. Females who have HIV through through sexual transmission got it from an infected male, who in turn got it through some form of tainted blood transmission [including IV drug use] or sexual transmission, overwhelmingly most likely male/male sexual transmission. Condom use therefore, among hetero and homo -sexuals and bisexuals is STRONGLY recommended.

  6. Sargon Bighorn says

    QJ201, Nope wrong place. Coming soon to Craigslist, ManHunt, Adam4Adam, DaddyHunt, etc, and a house party near you. Bath houses are way down on the list of places guys pick up and spread STDs. It’s all done in the comfort and safety of private homes.

  7. Rob KIllian says

    Guys, this is not just coming to a city or bathhouse near you. It has already arrived. Simply taking pills for dripping penis is a thing of the past now. Thank God we do have an injectable treatment that is still effective.

  8. Fancypants says

    @ratbastard: Actually gonnorhea can be spread fairly easily from female to male. It can live and is often transmitted through oral sex. I assure you, more women are giving than receiving there.

    Not all STDs are transmitted with the same level of ease or otherwise. Plenty of straight men get the clap and it isn’t from taking it up the arse.

  9. SayTheTruth says

    And some people still don’t understand what evolution is. We actively help in the selection of the most resistant diseases with our overuse of antibiotics, and given the how huge the human population became, it’s not a surprise the acceleration rate we produce those new strains. Until -and if ever- we find medical magic bullets -a way of speaking- people should be more than careful. Remember: better mistaken than sorry.

Leave A Reply