A drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea has cropped up in numerous areas of England, raising concerns of its spread around the country and that further mutations of the bacteria may make the sexually transmitted infection (STI) impervious to all available treatments, The Guardian reports. Public Health England states that there have been 34 confirmed cases of drug-resistant gonorrhea since 2014.

Since September 2015, 11 cases of the strain have been confirmed in the West Midlands as well as in the southern area of the country, and five cases have been identified in London.

Cases have been diagnosed in heterosexual men and women as well as men who have sex with men (MSM).

This strain of gonorrhea is very resistant to the antibiotic azithromycin, meaning that another drug, ceftriaxone, is required for treatment. There is no further line of defense available should further mutations of the strain make it resistant to ceftriaxone. Throughout history, gonorrhea has developed resistance to all antibiotics used to combat the STI.

Public health officials advise the use of condoms to reduce the risk of contracting gonorrhea.

To read the BBC article, click here.

To read the Guardian article, click here.