An English man has become the first person in the world to catch so-called ‘super gonorrhoea’, which has proved resistant to antibiotics.
The man, who hasn’t been named, is said to have caught the STI from a woman during a trip to south-east Asia earlier this year.
Public Health England has issued a warning that this seems to be the first case “resistant to the current recommended dual first-line therapy.”
The gonorrhoea failed to respond to two powerful antibiotics, azithromycin and ceftriaxone, that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends are given to patients suffering from the STI.
Last year WHO warned that the infection had become highly drug resistant.
“The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are particularly smart,” said Dr Teodora Wi, Medical Officer, Human Reproduction, at WHO.
“Every time we use a new class of antibiotics to treat the infection, the bacteria evolve to resist them.”
In 2016, Public Health England warned that a powerful strain of the bug had first been seen in the north of England and had spread to the Midlands and the South East.
It was highly resistant to the antibiotic azithromycin, but was still treatable with the second drug, ceftriaxone.
However, this new strain of the super-bug was unaffected by both antibiotics.
Reports state that the patient is being treated with daily injections of ertapenem, another antibiotic, and will be tested in a few weeks to see if the infection has cleared up.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea for both men and women include unusual discharge and a burning sensation when passing urine.
Men may also get swelling of the foreskin, while women may experience bleeding between periods.
However, one in 10 infected men and half of infected women won’t experience any symptoms, according to the NHS.
Globally, around 78 million people are infected with gonorrhoea each year.
If you think you may have an STI, you should visit your GP or local sexual health clinic.