Burning, Man? New Gonorrhea Strain Impervious to Drugs

Every Tuesday, we work with the deep thinkers over at SoulPancake to choose a TakePart story and discuss the Life’s Big Question it brings to mind. This week we look at a new strain of gonorrhea that seems to have outsmarted man's brightest antibiotics. Look for this week's Big Question at the end of the story, then join the conversation!

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Gonorrhea speaks the universal language of love; so be sure to follow the directions laid out above. (Photo: Mariana Bazo/Reuters)

In recent years, medical professionals have made significant advances in the treatment of common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—herpes, syphilis, chlamydia, the whole gang. Lest these medical strides make us complacent, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that a new strain of gonorrhea discovered in Japan—rather innocuously nicknamed H104—is stubbornly resistant to antiobiotics. Just in time for the dog days of summer, we have a sex fiend superbug on our hands. Well, not precisely on our hands.

In the July 8 edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report—no, that isn't your grandmother's family newsletter—the cold, hard facts are laid bare: the new strain of gonorrhea (known as "the clap" in the parlance of WWII-era servicemen) has genetic mutations that render it impervious to cephalosporins, the antibiotic commonly used to treat the STD.

In the absence of viable drugs and treatments, scientists and researchers fret that we could be faced with a global gonorrhea threat. At this time, there are no reported cases of gonorrhea 2.0 in the United States, but the International Business Times (IBT) notes that the superbug is putting out feelers in Norway and Japan.

If gonorrhea hysteria takes hold in America, we'll need to devise effective treatments quickly and efficiently, or simply prescribe abstinence. (Amid the potential chaos, we can turn to sitcom reruns to lighten the mood).

This week's Big Question from the deep-thinkers at SoulPancake: Is our addiction to medicine making us sicker?

Join the conversation!


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