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Update on 'Sex Superbug' in Hawaii

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

[Update 5/1/13]

We have an important clarification from the Hawaii Health department about the so-called 'Sex Superbug' that made national headlines on Tuesday.

A Hawaii woman had the country's first confirmed case of drug-resistant gonorrhea. However, the state's STD/AIDS prevention chair said Wednesday it was a different strain, and not the sex superbug.

Tuesday, national media including CNBC and Yahoo said the sex superbug was found in Hawaii, California, Norway and Japan.

"There is no multi-drug super resistant superbug yet in Hawaii or the United States. We don't have the superbug in Hawaii that I repeat again, but I think it does raise people's consciousness that gonorrhea is out there, there are new strains that are developing and evolving and we need to be aware of that and protect ourselves," said Peter Whiticir from the State Department of Health's STD/Aids Prevention Control branch.

The Diamond Head Health Center helps screen 600 cases of Gonorrhea every year. All physicians have been warned to watch for any more drug-resistant STD's

Original story below posted: [Posted 4/30/2013]

Scientists are warning about an aggressive superbug that's spread by unprotected sex.  It's been dubbed the sex superbug because it's a strain of gonorrhea that's resistant to antibiotics.

So far, there have been 2 confirmed cases in Hawaii. According to Peter Whiticir from the State Department of Health's STD/Aids Prevention Control branch, "A resistant form of gonorrhea was first identified in Hawaii in May 2011.

Hawaii's first case was documented in a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It points to a May 2011 Gonorrhea sample from a young woman in Hawaii.. that's the "first case with high level resistance to Azithromycin to be detected in the United States."

DOH is taking the threat seriously. Whiticir explains, "We've sent advisories around to physicians and health care providers around the State to make sure they're aware of this form of Gonorrhea."

Hawaii health officials normally see 6-hundred cases a year. They've stepped up surveillance for the resistant strain.

Whiticir says, "We're on the lookout in Hawaii. We're looking for cases to let the rest of the country know. We shouldn't fool ourselves. This resistant form of gonorrhea is going around the world."

Since 'H041' was first discovered in Japan in 2011-- it spread to Hawaii, and has now surfaced in California and Norway. Some doctors say it "could be worse than aids" because it could affect more people, quickly.

"One of the things we're most concerned about" adds Whiticir, "it increases the likelihood of transmission or acquisition of HIV, increasing spread of HIV in the population as well."

Gonorrhea can be hard to detect, without obvious blisters or pain. It shows no symptoms in 50 percent of women, and 5 percent of men.

The CDC has asked Congress to fast track 50 million dollars to find a new antibiotic to treat this sex superbug.

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