Skip to comments.Gonorrhea Evades Antibiotics, Leaving Only One Drug To Treat Disease
Posted on 08/14/2012 12:22:17 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
Health officials say they're worried that one day there will be no more antibiotics left to treat gonorrhea.
There's some disturbing news out today about a disease we don't hear about much these days: gonorrhea. Federal health officials announced that the sexually transmitted infection is getting dangerously close to being untreatable.
As a result, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for how doctors should treat gonorrhea. The guidelines are designed to keep one of the remaining effective antibiotics useful for as long as possible by restricting the use of the other drug that works against the disease.
"We are sounding the alarm," said Gail Bolan, who heads the CDC's division of STD prevention.
Gonorrhea has been plaguing humanity for centuries. But ever since penicillin came along a dose of antibiotics would usually take care of the disease.
"Gonorrhea used to be susceptible to penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and doxycycline very commonly used drugs," said Jonathan Zenilman, who studies infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins.
But one by one, each of those antibiotics and almost every new one that has come along since eventually stopped working. One reason is that the bacterium that causes gonorrhea can mutate quickly to defend itself, Zenilman said.
"If this was a person, this person would be incredibly creative," he said. "The bug has an incredible ability to adapt and just develop new mechanisms of resisting the impact of these drugs."
Another reason is that antibiotics are used way too frequently, giving gonorrhea and many other nasty germs too many chances to learn how to survive.
"A lot of this is occurring not because of treatment for gonorrhea but overuse for other infections, such as urinary tract infections, upper respiratory tract infections and so forth," Zenilman said.
It got to the point recently where doctors had only two antibiotics left that still worked well against gonorrhea cefixime and ceftriaxone.
But on Thursday, federal health officials announced that one of their worst fears had come true: Evidence had emerged that gonorrhea had started to become resistant to cefixime in the United States.
"We're basically down to one drug, you know, as the most effective treatment for gonorrhea," Bolan said.
Cefixime and ceftriaxone are in the same class of antibiotics. That means it's only a matter of time before ceftriaxon goes, too, she says.
"The big worry is that we potentially could have untreatable gonorrhea in the United States," Bolan said.
That's already happened in other countries. Totally untreatable gonorrhea is popping up in Asia and Europe.
So the CDC declared that doctors should immediately stop using the cefixime.
"We feel we need to a take a critical step to preserve the last remaining drug we know is effective to treat gonorrhea," Bolan said.
About 700,000 Americans get gonorrhea every year. If untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious complications, including infertility and life-threatening ectopic pregnancies.
"I think it should be a real clarion call to every American that we've got a looming public health crisis on our hands and potentially hundreds of thousands of cases of untreatable gonorrhea in this country every year," said William Smith, who heads the National Coalition of STD Directors.
Officials know adopting the new guidelines won't be easy. For one thing, ceftriaxone is an intra-muscular shot instead of a pill. And they want doctors to give it along with at least one other antibiotic and test patients to make sure they're cured.
But they know that all this will help only for a while, and that they can't stop the clock from ticking on the one drug left.
"We think it's only a matter of time based on the history of this organism until resistance does develop," Bolan said.
So scientists are searching for new combinations of antibiotics that might work. And officials are pushing for new weapons that might stay one step ahead of gonorrhea and the growing list of antibiotic-resistant infections.
As another blogger, Anti-Gnostic (Google that) says,
"Now if NPR really wanted to be ahead of the curve, they'd have titled this piece, The Clock Is Ticking On The Sexual Revolution. Surely that would generate some hits and lively discussion?
"How about don't have sex with everybody in sight? Get married and stay married? Scientists are baffled. What do we do?"
And keep in mind as the HHS Contraceptive Mandate take efective, and every reproductive-capable female (age 12-52) legally resident in the United States gets the option of free! free! injectable and implantable endocrine disruptors, a.k.a. "FDA-approved contraceptives," the rate of STD transmission is gonna skyrocket.
How do I know this? Because it always does.
P.S. It’ll cripple, blind and kill the babies, too.
If I were Sandra Fluke, I'd be worried.
“If this was a person, this person would be incredibly creative,”
Give that bug a handclap! Clap?
Chick-Fil-A probably has a prevention method but it would only rile the liberals and perverts.
Any individual bacterium that develops immunity to a single antibiotic will rapidly propagate.
It is hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of times less likely for a bacterium to simultaneously have genetic mutations that provide immunity to two different antibiotics.
Aeons ago, I had the distinct pleasure (hah!) of watching a VD movie (16mm projector type movie). It pulled no punches, sugar-coated nothing, left nothing to the imagination.
What has been seen, cannot be unseen.
That movie may well have saved me from doing something stupid on a few occasions ... God bless the folks who made it.
Is there a link to this movie? I don’t want to see it but I know of some people that would probably benefit from it.
The left says this is good for us. It’s all part of women’s rights.
Unfortunately the women will end up sterile.
"Aeons ago"? "16mm film"???
No, I don't think there's a link.
But now I'm curious ...
< goes away for a bit >
I can't find it on youtube ... "VD film" and "STD film" do generate a lot of hits, some relevant, some not.
Maybe your family doctor can help.
On and zipped.
“If I were Sandra Fluke, I’d be worried.”
My thoughts too. In New York City, its been said that one of every 4 young ladies carries something...so be careful in the bars there.
Perhaps this will FINALLY put the genie back in the bottle and people will have a reason to behave again. But a lot of suffering will take place in the interim.
There’s another “drug” available though rather passé for this generation...
It’s abstinence and having relations with the person you marry and only that person...
Odd coming from a baby boomer who was told “if it feels good, do it”.
***Aeons ago, I had the distinct pleasure (hah!) of watching a VD movie***
By any chance titled MOM AND DAD? I saw that 1940s movie in 1969 double billed with the anti marajuana movie SHE SHOULD’A SAID NO!(Aka WILD WEED) at a drive in theater.
For a 1945 movie it still made a come back in 1958 and 1969, and like VD, what goes around comes around.
How about this headline:
Irresponsible gay sex by immuno-depressed queers main cause of spread of drug-resistant gonnorea.
So isn't it sort of like a free contraceptive and sterilization thing? What's the problem? Infertility and nonviable pregnancies are a key government program! Marketing hook: "Contract gonorrhea - for the Environment!"
No, this was a fairly straight up medical thing, and showed some patients in graphic detail. I don’t recall the title, wasn’t paying attention until about 5-10 min into the film.
In Western Arkansas your best bet for catching clap is by visiting an Eastern Oklahoma bar.
I had several single co-workers catch the clap or crabs there.
Needless to say, we razzed them unmercifully.