Remember high school health class, when after scaring the crap out of you with dire warnings of what STD’s could do to you, they cushioned the trauma by telling you that the most of them, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea, can be cleared up with a dose of antibiotics? If you were like a lot of people, that’s all you remembered: no big deal, get antibiotics, goes away.
We tended to forget that gonorrhea, if left untreated, can cause pelvic inflammation, severe pregnancy complications, female infertility and blindness in babies born to infected women. Its presence increases the odds on contracting HIV. Even if we did remember the risks, there was still that safety net: antibiotics. We started feeling about gonorrhea the way we feel about the flu.
Well, here’s the bad news: the bacterium (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) has been steadily evolving to resist medical weapons. Sulfonamides ceased to be effective in treating it in the 1940s; penicillins and tetracyclines lost effectiveness in the 1970s and ’80s; and fluoroquinolones were taken off the treatment table in 2007.
The current treatment, a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins, appears to be weakening against gonorrhea infections worldwide. And that drug resistance has now reached North America, according to a new study, published online January 8 in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association.
In light of growing drug-resistance worldwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended clinicians no longer prescribe a single antibiotic treatment. Instead, they now advise that patients receive an injection of ceftriaxone as well as a week-long course of oral azithromycin or doxycycline.
To read the full Yahoo News article, click here.
To read the full JAMA study, click here.
To read the CDC fact sheet on gonorrhea, click here.