Lifestyle & Belief

Gonorrhea "superbug" in Japan


A lab technician holds a bacteria culture that shows a positive infection of enterohemorrhagic E. coli


Sean Gallup

You may not have thought that gonorrhea could get scarier.

But it has.

Scientists have discovered a new strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea in Japan. 

The "superbug," as scientists call bacteria that has mutated to survive, is resistant to all the antibiotics currently used to treat gonorrhea, and doctors warn that it could turn the once easily curable infection into a major health crisis.

Magnus Unemo of the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria, who discovered the strain, menacingly labeled H041, in samples from Kyoto, told Reuters that the discovery isn't entirely surprising.

“Since antibiotics became the standard treatment for gonorrhea in the 1940s, this bacterium has shown a remarkable capacity to develop resistance mechanisms to all drugs introduced to control it,” he said.

Scientists warned last year that gonorrhea could mutate following reports of gonorrhea drug resistance in Hong Kong, China, Australia and elsewhere, according to Reuters.