Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Jason Koebler reports that the fear of major health organizations is coming true with the detection of 'incurable gonorrhea,' immune to the last remaining effective oral antibiotic in at least nine North American patients. Scientists have 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. 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," says Vanessa Allen of Public Health Ontario. "This is the translation of the lab information into what the clinical consequence is." Gonorrhea is estimated to infect close to 700,000 Americans each year with symptoms including painful urination, abdominal pain, genital discharge, itching, and infertility in women. Less than a year ago, Gail Bolan, director of the CDC's sexually transmitted disease prevention program, wrote that the "threat of untreatable gonorrhea is emerging rapidly." At the time, just 1.7 percent of gonorrhea isolated in the lab were considered resistant to cephalosporins. Allen says her study shows just how fast antibiotic resistance is evolving in the organisms. "Our results aren't generalizable to the overall population because they all came from one clinic," concludes Allen. "But basically, the problem appears worse than we originally thought.""
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