Piqued Lite - 8/7/2017 - The Growing, Global Threat Of Antibiotic Resistant/Immune Gonorrhoeae
"The Clap" or "The Drip" - Whatever You Call It, Gonorrhoeae Sucks.
Caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Gonorrhoeae, or The Clap, is one of the most well known bacterial infections in human history. For centuries the Clap was a fact of life for a large percentage of the human race. In the pre-antibiotic era, there was no real external cure for the Clap.
Infection can result in a variety of distasteful symptoms - smelly discharge being the most well known one. But it can also have substantial larger implications, ranging from infertility in women to higher prostate cancer risk in men, and sometimes a larger systemic infection that can be deadly.
In the 1940s, antibiotics appeared to be a panacea solution to the Clap. People infected with it could simply get a shot of antibiotics and be cured. But early on, the antibiotic resistant potential of the Clap became obvious, and today functionally immune strains of Gonorrhoeae are beginning to pop up all over the world.
Today, antibiotic immune Gonorrhoeae represents a major global health crisis.
A recent overview of the antibiotic resistant/immune Gonorrhoeaea situation around the world presents a harrowing medical challenge. Not only is antibiotic immune Gonorrhoeae spreading, but in many parts of the world where circumstances are primed for antibiotic resistance to develop, there is a serious lack of monitoring for the disease.
In parts of Eastern Europe for example, there is simultaneously a lack of reporting and recording of Gonorrhoeae infections while there are also antibiotics readily available over the counter. This combination of the ease of antibiotic miss-use and failure to report or diagnose infections, creates a hot bed for antibiotic resistance to develop. The same can be said for parts of Africa, Central Asia, and parts of Central and South America.
Unless and until these regions change their antibiotic distribution practices, and reporting and resistance testing is increased there, antibiotic resistant or immune Gonorrhoeae is only going to increase globally. Even places where diagnosis of antibiotic immune Clap is more comprehensive, we need to get better at preventing the spread of the disease.
A Global Response
Thankfully, the paper's conclusions are not totally disheartening.
First, there is an increasing global movement in the medical community to address not only antibiotic resistance, but antibiotic resistant Gonorrhoeae specifically. As a result, several new antibiotic treatments are currently in clinical trials and vaccine development, though slow moving, is at least underway.
Second, the more awareness is drawn to this issue, the more education and prevention is provided to halt its spread. One major recommendation from the paper is to treat Gonorrhoeae more seriously in terms of public education, lumping it into the same safety practices instilled through HIV safety education.
Unfortunately, until either a vaccine comes around or a new treatment is developed, antibiotic resistant or immune Gonorrhoeae is going to become a more and more prevalent reality for everybody. One day we may eliminate the disease entirely, but until then, the only game in town is knowledge and prophylaxis. That is to say, follow the old US Army advice and "use a rubber."
Information source: [https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neisseria_gonorrhoeae?wprov=sfla1] Wi T, Lahra MM, Ndowa F, Bala M, Dillon J-AR, Ramon-Pardo P, et al. (2017) Antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae: Global surveillance and a call for international collaborative action. PLoS Med 14(7): e1002344. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002344
Photo Source: National Archives and Records Administration, via Wikimedia Commons