Drug Resistant N. gonnorhoeae

Type: Bacterial

Geography: Worldwide; most common in the United States and Western Europe

Cases Per Year: 98 million

Fatality Rate: 1%

First Discovered: 1879 by Albert Ludwig Sigesmund Neisser in Germany

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect the genitals, rectum, and throat in men and women. It is very common, especially among young people ages 15-24. Gonorrhea is spread by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who has gonorrhea, and a pregnant woman who is infected can transmit the infection to her baby during childbirth.

One can reduce the risk of contracting gonorrhea while sexually active by being in a long-term  monogamous relationship with a partner who has tested negative for STDs and using latex condoms the correct way.

Symptoms in men include a burning sensation when urinating, a discharge (white, yellow, or green) from the penis, and painful or swollen testicles. Most women do not have symptoms, but can still develop serious complications from the infection. Symptoms in women include painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, and vaginal bleeding between periods.

Gonorrhea has developed resistance to nearly all of the antibiotics used for its treatment. However, without proper treatment, women can developed pelvic inflammatory disease and men can experience pain in the testicles and sterility. Rarely, untreated gonorrhea can also spread to the blood or joints, which can be life-threatening.

Photo: N. gonnorhoeae – Electron micrograph.