A gonorrhea superbug—a strain that has become antibiotic resistant—-has spread from Japan to Hawaii to California since its discovery in 2011. It’s particularly virulent, leading some to claim that it may actually be more of a threat than HIV.
As scary as AIDS was, it isn’t that aggressive. Hep C, for instance, can survive for a much longer period of time outside the body, and fewer Hep C viruses are needed to spread infection. Gonorrhea is also more aggressive than AIDS, and is currently the second most reported STD.
One doctor estimates the strength of the current antibiotic resistant strain to have the potential to kill within a few days. Short of that, gonorrhea can cause serious side effects including sterility and sores (open sores pose a risk for more infections).
Millions of dollars are being requested to help fund new antibiotics for the treatment of gonorrhea as well as a public awareness campaign about the new strain.
Without a breakthrough in the treatment of gonorrhea, the last line of antibiotics will be useless within a few years. Chlamydia is facing similar problems, and its superbug is already far more widespread within the United States.
It seems the era of antibiotics may be very short lived. Even if they develop a new treatment, any antibiotics stronger than those in existence causes severe side effects. For diseases as common as gonorrhea and chlamydia, such severe treatment won’t be very practical.
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