Gonorrhea is becoming "harder" to treat, according to health off - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

EYE ON HEALTH

Gonorrhea is becoming "harder" to treat, according to health officials

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

New STD cases hit a record high last year and one infection, in particular, is becoming harder to treat.

In 2016, there were 2-million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia in the United States.

Health officials are concerned about what’s called a ‘superbug gonorrhea.’

Gonorrhea is an infection that was once easily treated with a dose of antibiotics; however, it is becoming harder to treat because like all infections the strains have evolved.

"We're pretty much at the last line of treatment therapy that we know can and will take care of this infection and it's a real concern. Nobody wants to be facing an infection that we really can’t get rid of,” said Hamilton County Health Department’s Disease Intervention Specialist Laurie Tucker.

The recommended treatment for someone who tests positive for gonorrhea is dual therapy or using two drugs. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause infertility and lead to other health issues.

“It can start traveling throughout your bloodstream and so you have other complications that can affect the lining of the heart, the lining of your brain and so there are other potential issues that can come from gonorrhea,” Tucker told Channel 3.

The Hamilton County Health Department is seeing more cases of gonorrhea but has not seen drug resistant strains of gonorrhea yet. Officials say it’s just a matter of time before they do and that’s why they’re trying to spread the message about prevention and testing.

Tucker says many people with gonorrhea do not notice symptoms but if they do, burning during urination is a common sign.

She says the tests are not invasive. If someone tests positive for gonorrhea, their sexual partner needs to be tested and treated immediately to prevent the infection from spreading.

To learn more about getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases, contact the Hamilton County Health Department at (423) 209-8250.

Health officials say STD numbers overall may be higher because of better detection and screening.

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