A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis shows that drug resistance to azithromycin, an antibiotic used to treat gonorrhea, is emerging.
The analysis, published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), finds that the percentage of gonorrhea isolates with decreased susceptibility to azithromycin – an indicator of emerging resistance – increased more than 400 percent (from 0.6 percent to 2.5 percent) between 2013 and 2014.
This is a distressing sign that the future of current treatment may be in jeopardy, underscoring the need to find new treatment options and sustain efforts to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease.
Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs in the United States, and cases have increased in recent years. CDC currently recommends combination gonorrhea treatment with two antibiotics – an oral dose of azithromycin and an injection of ceftriaxone. While the current treatment for gonorrhea still works, it is the only recommended treatment available and these latest findings show that time may be running out before it’s no longer effective.