Health officials in Oklahoma are tracking a strain of drug-resistant gonorrhea first reported among gay and bisexual men in the state and now threatening to spread into the general population, the Daily Oklahoman reports. This particular strain of the sexually transmitted disease is resistant to antibiotics in the fluoroquinolone class, affecting many of the drugs commonly prescribed to cure it. "This is a significant blow, because it takes out a whole class of antibiotics," Karen Wendel, an infectious disease expert with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, told the Daily Oklahoman.
The drug-resistant strain of the STD first appeared in Southeast Asia but has spread to much of the United States, usually appearing first in a community among sexually active gay and bisexual men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April recommended that U.S. clinics stop using fluoroquinolones to treat the STD in all gay and bisexual men. Wendel says doctors throughout Oklahoma should prescribe other antibiotics to treat gonorrhea in gay patients or those who've traveled to an area with high rates of the drug-resistant STD. Currently, Oklahoma ranks 15th in the nation in numbers of gonorrhea infections each year, and Oklahoma City ranks 20th among major U.S. cities for the STD.