Gonorrhea is coming back.

The Verge is rolling out the red carpet to welcome back the clap:

…[P]enicillin and various tetracyclines have all stopped working against the most prevalent strains. This means that today’s gonorrhea patient has very few treatment options left.

Unfortunately, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) thinks that emerging resistant strains will one day take the last remaining first-line treatment option away — a treatment that currently consists of a cephalosporin injection combined with an oral dose of either azithromycin or doxycycline. The government agency outlined how that scenario could unfold in a study released today.

For now, the CDC’s latest recommended treatment is holding steady in the US. The percentage of gonorrhea samples that need to be treated more aggressively is lower than it was in 2012. And it’s important to note that the US actually has a much lower gonorrhea incidence rate today than it did prior to the 1970s.

But as the CDC points out in its report, it’s important to keep monitoring emerging drug resistance. If that scenario were to happen again with cephalosporins, the health and economic consequences would be much larger than in previous recent outbreaks. And at the moment, there are no clear recommended treatment options for patients who have a cephalosporin-resistant infection, [CDC epidemiologist Sarah] Kidd explained. Furthermore, even though ciprofloxacin is no longer widely used to treat gonorrhea, resistance to the drug persists in about 15 percent of cases. So, should the CDC’s current treatment lose its effectiveness entirely, she said, “it won’t be possible to return to ciprofloxacin as a first line treatment regimen for gonorrhea.”