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Gonorrhea Evades Antibiotics, Leaving Only One Drug To Treat Disease
All Things Considered - NPR ^ | August 9, 2012 | Rob Stein

Posted on 08/14/2012 12:22:17 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o

Pictures, If You Can Stand It.

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.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antibiotics; byebye; gonorrhea; gonorrheatreatment; rkselection; sexualrevolution; std; stds
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I didn’t know what it looked like and didn’t know it went all over the body. That is really bad.

21 posted on 08/14/2012 1:33:53 PM PDT by Marcella (PREPARE)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%

” - - - - The left says this is good for us. It’s all part of women’s rights.

Unfortunately the women will end up sterile.”

Thus, it can be concluded that the Left wants women to be sterile.

Maybe the Left wish that they, themselves, had not been born ?

22 posted on 08/14/2012 1:37:00 PM PDT by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Marcella
If you wanna puke, look up pictures of genital warts.

Warning: Not Safe For Work.

Unless you're involved in medical practice of some sort ...

23 posted on 08/14/2012 1:37:25 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: whattajoke

“Pretty sure Gonorrhea doesn’t care about one’s sexual proclivities”

Of course it doesn’t. But 1/5 (20%) of men who have sex with men, get gonorrhea.

Syphallis rates are 44 times greater amount MSM, too.

24 posted on 08/14/2012 1:41:49 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Essential oils recommended for gonorrhea and syphilis are oregano, thieves, melissa, thyme, and a few others too. Since using Young Living's therapeutic essential oils (for strep-like sore throats, swollen glands, etc.), we have not required any antibiotics in our family for years. Hard to say how much it could aid with gonorrhea and syphilis, but I'd list Young Living's oregano oil as #1 for the prepper's medicine bag. I was using it today on our squash plants that have a bacteria left behind from cucumber beetles. Not sure if it will work (however, I noticed the beetles have split).
25 posted on 08/14/2012 1:47:13 PM PDT by mlizzy (And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell others not to kill? --MT)
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To: whattajoke

“CDC conducted sentinel surveillance in 28 cities and found the proportion of cases resistant to fluoroquinolone antibiotics (a first-line treatment for gonorrhea) increased from 4.1 percent in 2003 to 6.8 percent in 2004. Resistance is especially worrisome in men who have sex with men, where it was eight times higher than among heterosexuals (23.8 percent vs. 2.9 percent). In April 2004, CDC recommended that fluoroquinolones no longer be used as treatment for gonorrhea among men who have sex with men. These antibiotics were also not recommended to treat the disease in anyone in California or Hawaii, where resistance has been widespread for years. Outside of these states, the prevalence of fluoroquinolone resistance among heterosexuals remains low at 1.3 percent.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2007). Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2006, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of STD Prevention, Atlanta, GA

26 posted on 08/14/2012 1:51:14 PM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
Yeah. Too bad the antibiotics are ramping up selection pressures favoring the emergence of super-microbes, just as a coast-to-coast free hormonal contraception program is poised to do what it always does: set up exponentially increased transmission vectors.

People we love --- if not our kids, then our kids' friends, swaths of them --- are going to suffer badly. Hey, AIDS was so 30 years ago. They don't remember AIDS. And this could be worse.

27 posted on 08/14/2012 1:54:34 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (The threshing-floor of Baal-peor.)
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To: Jewbacca
Well, gay or straight--- or anywhere on the disoriented alphabet from A is for Anal to Z is for Zooey --- these infections are going to devastate people who have sex too young, too often, and with too many partners.

Concerning heterosexuals: hormonal methods of birth control, such as Depo-Provera (the shot), the patch, the vaginal ring, implants, and oral contraceptives, actually increase a girl's or woman's chances of getting an STD if her partner is infected. Depo-provera will supress the immune system, and hormonal methods can make the reproductive tract more vulnerable to infections like HIV, gonmorrhea and chlamydia.

So hormonally-altered females --- I'm not talking about trannies, I'm talking about straight girls using the most common contraceptives --- are particularly liable to get these infections. They're set up for it.

That's what makes me really angry --- or would make me angry if I permitted mself to get angry rather than really sad.

28 posted on 08/14/2012 2:25:08 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (The threshing-floor of Baal-peor.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

The further back in time you go to examine gonorrhea, the worse it gets.


For example, one of the early symptoms for males is the formation of pustules in the urethra. This inhibits the flow of urine, and often causes intense pain while trying to urinate. “A burning drip”.

As late as World War II, it was (jokingly) remarked that the way to determine if a man had gonorrhea was for him to clench a quarter between his teeth and urinate. When he finished, if the quarter was still in one piece, he did not have gonorrhea.

Left untreated, eventually these pustules would cause scarification of the urethra. In some instances, or with multiple infections, this scarification became so pronounced that it could cause the penis to permanently bend or twist.

In some cases, the pustules were pronounced enough to inhibit urination at all, a dangerous condition that required the doctor to use extreme measures to burst the pustules. One such technique was to lay the penis on a hard surface, like a table, then for the doctor to hit it a very hard blow with his fist, hoping to rupture the pustules.

Around World War I, a medical technique was devised to accomplish this opening of the urethra. First the patient was catheterized, not an easy task past pustules, and then their bladder was filled with an acidic solution. Then the catheter was removed. Then a specialized medical instrument was used, called “the umbrella”.

It was a long, thin metal tube that would be inserted up the penis past the pustules. Once in position, a screw on its base would be turned, and on the far end several small blades would umbrella out. Then rapidly, the tube would be pulled from the penis and the blades would tear open the pustules.

This hurt enough so that the patient usually fainted. When they awoke, they would have to urinate the acidic solution, which would often make them faint a second time, but would clean out and sterilize the now ruptured pustules.

After the advent of antibiotics, these medical instruments fell into disuse, and the only references to them remain in very old medical texts.

29 posted on 08/14/2012 2:26:58 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: mlizzy

Stick the infected tallywacker in a jar of mercury.

30 posted on 08/14/2012 2:32:27 PM PDT by wetgundog (" Extremism in the Defense of Liberty is no Vice")
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To: BobL

“My thoughts too. In New York City, its been said that one of every 4 young ladies carries be careful in the bars there.”

OK, on behalf of Laz, He Who Would Hit Anything: You mean there is a 3 in 4 chance they don’t have anything! Whoo-hoo!!!

31 posted on 08/14/2012 2:39:15 PM PDT by CodeToad (Anticipate their arrival...they won't.)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I’ve never tried to determine your age, and If you wish, it’s a moot point.

I’m 64 and I think I know the film to which you refer.

Did it feature an evil, blond, disease spreading woman who was just a wee bit older than the hapless teenage characters? As I recall, she was notable for her distinctive walk (you just *knew* she was loose) and her tight plaid pants. At least they seemed tight back then.

Back then, they had the youths picking her up on the street. Today she would be one of their teachers. I think the next week they had us watch “Reefer Madness.”

32 posted on 08/14/2012 2:40:17 PM PDT by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: BipolarBob

Chick-Fil-A probably has a prevention method but it would only rile the liberals and perverts.


They should come out against everything else on the left.

Business should skyrocket...again.

33 posted on 08/14/2012 2:45:18 PM PDT by ROTB (Live holy, forgive all & pray in Jesus' name. Trust He is willing & able & eager to ANSWER BIG!)
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To: Graewoulf

Most aborted babies are girls.

It’s only logical.

34 posted on 08/14/2012 2:57:14 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: null and void

I blame the FDA. It shouldn’t take 20 years to get a new antibiotic approved, especially if it is a slight variation on an existing molecule. We can and should “evolve” new antibiotic defenses at least as rapidly as our microbial adversaries evolve defenses against what we are already throwing at them.

35 posted on 08/14/2012 3:20:20 PM PDT by Stirner
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To: Mrs. Don-o

University student populations are nearly saturated with such diseases (remembering published university STD statistics).

36 posted on 08/14/2012 3:36:01 PM PDT by familyop ("Wanna cigarette? You're never too young to start." --Deacon, "Waterworld")
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To: Mrs. Don-o

More proof as to how I benefited by coming of age in the 1950s. I came down with The Clap in Korea in 1961. An injection of penicillin and I was good to go! Apparently, I wouldn’t be so lucky today.

37 posted on 08/14/2012 3:43:57 PM PDT by OldPossum
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To: ArrogantBustard
"Aeons ago"? "16mm film"???

No, I don't think there's a link.

But now I'm curious ...

From the US Navy, MCMXLII:

38 posted on 08/14/2012 4:19:26 PM PDT by cynwoody
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To: whattajoke
Pretty sure Gonorrhea doesn't care about one's sexual proclivities. here's an interesting chart which has some not-so surprising stats (DC rates through the roof! Utah/Idaho rates through the floor) and some you might find surprising (CA and MA are relatively low, as is the entire northeast. The South and midwest are highest, with concentrations in many bible belt states.) Do with this what you wish.

CDC sez:

In 2009, African Americans had 20.5 times the reported gonorrhea rates as Whites.

39 posted on 08/14/2012 4:20:29 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: cynwoody

1942 was way before my time, but that definitely captures the flavor of the thing: clinical, graphic, and disgusting. I remember it being nastier; that could be a matter of faulty memory.

40 posted on 08/14/2012 4:34:38 PM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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