ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – The presence of a strain of gonorrhea that is resistant to antibiotic treatment in North America could ultimately cause what experts are calling a “public health nightmare.”

A new study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found, for the first time, several cases of the new form of the very common sexually transmitted disease in Canada.

Gail Bolan, who directs a sexually transmitted disease prevention program out of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Daily Mail that untreatable gonorrhea could pose a threat to Americans soon.

Robert Kirkcaldy, also of the CDC, was also quoted by The Daily Mail as terming the discovery “deeply troubling.”

It is a problem about which the CDC has been concerned for some time.

“The development of antibiotic resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a growing public health concern, in particular because the United States gonorrhea control strategy relies on effective antibiotic therapy,” the CDC web page about gonorrhea states. “Since antibiotics were first used for treatment of gonorrhea, N. gonorrhoeae has progressively developed resistance to the antibiotic drugs prescribed to treat it.”

The study was led by Vanessa Allen of Public Health Ontario, and reportedly involved studying the health of patients treated for gonorrhea at a Toronto clinic.

Out of 133 of those patients who returned to the facilities during the study for a follow-up visit that tested whether or not they had been cured of the infection, an alleged 6.7 percent still had the disease, even after successful administration of the antibiotic treatments.

“Our results aren’t generalizable [sic] to the overall concentration because they all came from one clinic,” Allen was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “But basically, the problem appears worse than we originally thought.”

The CDC is now recommending a dual treatment that combines an injection of one drug taken in tandem with a week-long course of oral antibiotics, in light of the increased prevalence of stronger and more resilient forms of gonorrhea.

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