Los Angeles County health officials reported that cases of a penicillin-resistant strain of gonorrhea numbered 489 in 1985, up 71% from the reported cases in 1984. Nevertheless, Dr. Surekha Mishal, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County sexually transmitted disease control program, said the disease, known as PPNG for penicillinase-producing Neisseria gonorrhoea, accounted for only 0.8% of the reported cases of gonorrhea in the county last year. "It's not what we can call an outbreak or an epidemic. We don't have that for sure," Mishal said. Reports of PPNG have been on the rise since it was first discovered in the United States in 1976, but Mishal said it is curable with drugs other than penicillin. The total number of gonorrhea cases increased from about 48,000 in 1984 to 58,000 in 1985.