Study: Superbug Gonorrhea Strain Has No Known Cure

You might not die, but your reproductive ability might be permanently trashed

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The clap was always the safe STD. Sure, it burns a bit when you pee, but it's totally curable with antibiotics.

The days of easy gonorrhea treatment may be gone. Researchers in Japan have discovered a superbug strain of the infection, dubbed H104, which is resistant to all the usual treatments. Left untreated, scientists fear it could lead to a global health threat.

Could gonorrhea be the super disease that kills us all? Death by sex?

A bacterial infection, gonorrhea has been easily treated with antibiotics for decades. But, over time, it has developed resistance to these drugs. "Since antibiotics became the standard treatment for gonorrhea in the 1940s, this bacterium has shown a remarkable capacity to develop resistance mechanisms to all drugs introduced to control it," explains Magnus Unem, one of the researchers who discovered the new strain, in a Reuters story.

This isn't the first time there have been fears about the clap's quick mutations. Back in 2007,  The Washington Post notes, the CDC reported the spread of the super-clap, warning, "We'll have a major problem on our hands if we don't develop new antibiotics." Well, it's four years later and we apparently haven't made any new, more effective drugs. And, surprise surprise, the disease got smart to our fancy pills, mutating yet again.

As of now, no cures have been found for this bug, but scientists are looking to test a new class of even stronger antibiotics on the strand, starting the cycle of bug versus science anew. Anyone catch a Biblical hint in the idea of humanity being done-in at the last by its promiscuity? Of course, perhaps medicine will triumph again. For now, wear a condom.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.