Health authorities in Massachusetts announced Thursday they have identified two cases of a new strain of gonorrhea that appears to have developed resistance to a broad swath of antibiotic treatments.
Both patients got better after getting injections of ceftriaxone, the main drug currently recommended to treat cases of the sexually transmitted infection. But state health officials warn the strain that infected them shows signs of at least some resistance to almost every drug to treat the bacteria, the first of its kind confirmed in the U.S. to date.
Investigators are now working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test other samples collected from gonorrhea cases in the state. Massachusetts is also conducting contact tracing to find out if the drug-resistant strain has spread to others.
“The discovery of this strain of gonorrhea is a serious public health concern which DPH, the CDC, and other health departments have been vigilant about detecting,” Margret Cooke, head of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said Thursday in a statement.
Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection reported to health authorities in the U.S., behind chlamydia, according to the CDC.