Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted disease, has become so drug resistant now that scientists say they are running out of options to treat this serious disease.
Doctors prescribe a group of commonly used antibiotics including fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, and levofloxacin) as a treatment for the disease.
But the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the sexual disorder-that affects 700,000 Americans each year is now drug resistant and it no longer recommends fluoroquinolone for treatment, reported health portal Medical News Today.
The new study by its researchers shows that fluoroquinolone-resistant gonorrhea is now widespread among American heterosexuals and men who have sex with men.
It has gone beyond the five percent threshold in heterosexuals where a drug can no longer be recommended as a treatment. The threshold had already been crossed in earlier years for men who have sex with men.
The new evidence to support the decision comes from the CDC's Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project (GISP), which covers 26 US cities.
The new GISP data shows that among heterosexual men, the percentage of fluoroquinolone-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae (QRNG) cases went up 11-fold between 2001 and 2006. In 2001 it was 0.6 percent, and in early 2006 it was 6.7 percent.
The treatment options that now remain are limited to one group of antibiotics only -- the cephalosporins. "We are running out of options to treat this serious disease," John Douglas, director of the CDC's Division of STD Prevention, said.
The CDC is urging state and local health departments to monitor gonorrhea treatment failures for possible emerging resistance, particularly to cephalosporin.
Infection with gonorrhea that passes from one person to another during sexual activity increases the risk of passing on or becoming infected with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS)- a deadly condition in which the immune system begins to fail.