(MEDICALXPRESS) — Researchers are continuing to sound the alarm on the growing threat of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea in the United States, according to a perspective in the Feb. 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

In July of 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released “Cephalosporin Susceptibility Among Neisseria gonorrhoeae Isolates – United States, 2000-2010,” which signaled the potential for resistance to the cephalosporins, the last line of defense for treating gonorrhea.

The New England Journal of Medicine piece, “The Emerging Threat of Untreatable Gonococcal Infection,” by Gail A. Bolan, director of the Division of STD Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, P. Frederick Sparling, professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Judith N. Wasserheit, professor and vice chair of the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle, issues an urgent call to action to halt the continued increases in drug-resistant gonorrhea.

“It is time to sound the alarm,” said co-author Wasserheit. “Though there is no evidence yet of treatment failures in the United States, trends in decreased susceptibility coupled with a history of emerging resistance and reported treatment failures in other countries point to a likelihood of failures on the horizon and a need for urgent action.”

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