12 June 2012

WHO Says Super-Clap Wants You!

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently sounded an alert on the spread of drug resistant gonorrhea in Japan, Australia, and Europe. More on the spread of the superbug across Europe:
"Superbug" strains of gonorrhea which are becoming untreatable accounted for almost one in 10 cases of the sexually transmitted disease in Europe in 2010, more than double the rate of the year before, health officials said on Monday.

The drug-resistant strains are also spreading fast across the continent, officials warned. They were found in 17 European countries in 2010, seven more than in the previous year. _ChiTrib

The US CDC recently held a Grand Rounds on the topic of the growing threat of multi-drug resistant gonorrhea (see video below).

Lost in all the PC-tainted publicity, are the details of where the drug resistant strains are coming from, and the nature of the populations which are affected.

If multi-drug resistant have started popping up in the past few years in Japan, Australia, and Europe, where were these microbes found before that? In Sub-Saharan Africa.
This study illustrates the high frequency of resistant gonococci in Africa and shows that tetracycline-resistant N. gonorrhoeae have become highly endemic in different geographic areas of the continent. The use of effective drugs is essential to reduce gonorrhea transmission. Surveillance of temporal changes in antimicrobial resistance in gonococcal strain populations should be part of sexually transmitted diseases control programs. _STD Jan 1997

Over the years, the microbes developed resistance to more and more antibiotics, so that now some strains of super-clap are resistant to virtually all commonly available antibiotics.

We know that STDs (including HIV) are running particularly rampant in African American populations, in Sub-Saharan (SS) Africa, and in all populations of the SS African diaspora. It only took a few years for HIV to spread from Africa to Haiti and to gay communities across the developed world.

We are told that super-gonorrhea is spreading rapidly throughout Europe. But so are African immigrants. Perhaps the news stories should divulge the nature of the populations in Europe which are particularly affected? That would be much more helpful to the public than current news stories, which neglect to inform the public of such crucial information.

People of SS African descent suffer from a wide variety of problems, including low average intelligence, high rates of violence, high rates of poverty, high rates of illegitimacy, and high rates of a wide range of infectious and degenerative diseases. The last thing that this community needs is to be "protected and shielded" by PC journalists and politicians, to the point of not understanding the serious threats its people are facing.

Gonorrhea is often asymptomatic, and often the symptoms are ignored without seeking treatment. When the disease is treated, it is often undertreated -- either due to medical error, lack of adequate drug supply, or due to the patient's own neglect in skipping doses or discontinuing the treatment too soon.

Complications of inadequately treated gonorrhea include neonatal blindness, often fatal ruptured tubal pregnancy, long term painful pelvic inflammation, scarring of pelvic tissues leading to infertility, and more.

The problem of bacterial drug resistance is not limited to STDs such as gonorrhea. Multi-drug resistant TB is an even greater threat than gonorrhea, in terms of potential loss of life.

While no populations are immune to such diseases, particular populations are in more danger than others. Prison populations, for example, can be more exposed to a wide range of infectious diseases, depending upon the conditions of the prisons. Infectious disease spread by sexual contact, airborne spread, and contact with fomites, can all be more common in many prison populations -- particularly in the third world.

There are many ingenious research plans for dealing with multi-drug resistant microbes. But it takes a long time for ideas to progress through the many stages of research into common clinical usage. The process of treatment research and development is also very expensive. When research pioneers are trying to break through one or more common paradigms of standard medical treatment, the delays can stretch even longer.

Be careful out there.

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Blogger Stephen said...

"There are many ingenious research plans for dealing with multi-drug resistant microbes."

I would be very interested to hear more about this. I have heard about bacteriophage research, quorum quenching, and the use of drugs like bisphosphonates to kill resistant bacteria. I am always interested in knowing how this research is going. Also, I still hope there are serious efforts to develop vaccines for STIs. (Perhaps this is a topic for Al Fin You Sexy Thing.) A vaccine for gonorrhea would be helpful worldwide.

Wednesday, 13 June, 2012  
Blogger Stephen said...

This is pretty interesting: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/antimicrobialResistance/Examples/neisseria/Pages/default.aspx

Friday, 15 June, 2012  

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