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Belligerent bugs make Korean debut.

Belligerent bug makes Korean debut

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the sexually transmitted bacterium that causes gonorrhea, has pulled another fast one on the medical community. The bug has a history of developing resistance to antibiotics: against sulfonamides in the 1930s, against low-dose penicillin in the 1950s and '60s, and against high doses of penicillin, tetracycline and a number of other drugs in the 1970s. Now, after only three years of exposure to the current front-line antibiotic, spectinomycin, strains of spectinomycin-resistant N. gonorrhoeae are turning up among U.S. military personnel in Korea.

"The prevalence of spectinomycin-resistant strains . . . is alarming, particularly since it occurred over such a short period,' report John W. Boslego and his colleagues in the July 30 NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE. Boslego's team, which includes researchers from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Children's Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and the University of Maryland in College Park, calculates that the spectinomycin failure rate among U.S. servicemen in Korea may already exceed 11 percent. They warn that the increasing emergence of resistant strains "places our current armamentarium of simple, safe, effective and inexpensive antibiotics in further jeopardy.'

Moreover, Boslego says, the problem will not stay on the other side of the world. Microbial resistance patterns in U.S. military personnel abroad often serve as bellwethers of pending microbiological trends at home. Next line of defense: a powerful new antibiotic called ceftriaxone.
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Title Annotation:antibiotic resistance of gonorrhea microbe
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 8, 1987
Words:238
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