Gonorrhea For All

August 28, 2012

Brit Trogen


Well, congratulations humanity! It's been a long, hard road, but with a lot of overprescription and careless abandon we've almost succeeded in making gonorrhea incurable again. Woo hoo!


From NPR:

"Gonorrhea used to be susceptible to penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and doxycycline — very commonly used drugs" ... 

But one by one, each of those antibiotics — and almost every new one that has come along since — eventually stopped working. 


Thanks a lot, "good time" girls.


There are two reasons for this, one of which isn't entirely our fault. Gonorrhea has a very high mutation rate that allows it to evolve quickly to adapt to our drugs and defenses. But for years we've been overperscribing antibiotics for a whole range of problems, some of which have nothing to do with gonorrhea. And it's just this lack of foresight that has given gonorrhea, as well as numerous other bugs, ample chances to develop antibiotic resistance.


Of course, our battle against health and common sense isn't quite over. Up until a couple weeks ago there were only two antibiotics that were effective in treating gonorrhea, but before we can truly be crowned the dumbest society ever we'd still need to render the final antibiotic, ceftriaxone, ineffective. In a final show of too-little-too-late efficiency, the CDC is banning doctors from continued use of a related antibiotic in the hopes that reducing the amount this type of antibiotic in the population may slow down the clap's ability to adapt to it.


In the meantime, we should all start looking forward to burning during urination, vaginal and penis discharge, joint swelling, infections, infertility and sore throats. Because as time and evolution have shown, from here on out it's really only a matter of time.



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