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Just in time for Valentine’s Day: The Incurable Clap

This story is just a continuation on my belief that we’ve doomed ourselves as a species with the over-application and over-prescription of antibiotics in the past couple decades to deal with little things.  As a result, it has created a whole-set of resistant strains of what were once curable diseases, which someday might kill us all.

The latest to now add to the list: Gonorrhea, aka “The Clap.”

The fears of major health organizations have come true: Gonorrhea that is immune to the last remaining effective oral antibiotic has been detected in at least nine North American patients, meaning the era of “incurable” gonorrhea could be close.

In a study released Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a group of scientists led by Vanessa Allen of Public Health Ontario, found that 6.7 percent of patients with gonorrhea at a Toronto clinic still had the disease after a round of cephalosporins, the last effective oral antibiotic used to treat the disease. Of 133 patients who returned for a “test of cure” visit, nine remained gonorrhea-positive. This is the first time cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea has been found in humans in North America.

Last year, both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control warned that untreatable gonorrhea—the world’s second most common sexually transmitted infection—could soon be a reality as the bacteria showed increasing resistance to cephalosporins in lab tests.

“These are the clinical cases we’ve been waiting for,” Allen says. “This is the translation of the lab information into what the clinical consequence is.”

Previously, there had been a couple individual case reports of untreatable gonorrhea cases in the United Kingdom, Austria, France, Norway, and Japan. In an accompanying editorial, Robert Kirkcaldy of the CDC writes that gonorrhea is quickly becoming a more threatening disease.

The nine cases found in Canada were eventually cured of their ailment.  But instead of having to take the tradition protocol of cephalosporin tablets, they were given an injection of the antibiotic ceftriaxone, which is now seen by the CDC and WHO as the last line of defense.

What happens when the bugs evolve past that antibiotic is anyone’s guess.

ADDENDUM — You know why religions and other out-of-date thinking told people to avoid sex until after marriage?  It was in part to help aid in stopping the spread of disease.  Those crazy, old, right-wingers might have been on to something it seems.

Ah well, death by pestilence.  Hope the carnal pleasure is worth it.

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