One of the most dire developments of the past few years is that of the Superbugs. These are strains of bacteria that have evolved to become resistant to antibiotics. And as doctors and scientists scramble to develop a remedy, these bugs keep getting stronger, making this new dilemma one that we may not be able to overcome.
No, really. Take Gonorrhea, for example. Researchers are now saying that this bacteria is on track to soon becoming completely immune to all antibiotics. According to a new study, which has been published in the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbodity and Mortality Weekly Report, there is currently a rising trend in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Now, researchers argue that it may be temporary but there is no way to know for sure. Regardless, though, researchers are noting more and more instances of the venereal disease that are resistant to be azithromycin and ceftriaxone.
“The increases are cause for concern and highlight the need for immediate action on a number of fronts to ensure that our ability to treat people with gonorrhea stays intact,” explains Robert Kirkcaldy, MD, MPH, with the CDC Division of STD Prevention. The corresponding study author goes on to say, “Because history shows us that resistance to our current antibiotics will develop, it is critical that we take steps now by strengthening our surveillance efforts, identifying new treatment options, and ensuring local STD prevention services are available to those who need them.”
The US CDC estimates that approximately 820,000 people are infected with the Neisseria gonorrhoaeae bacteria every single year in the United States alone. And more than half of that population are between the ages of 15 and 24.
The good news—if there is any—or perhaps it is a silver lining, is that infections still remain low. In 2014, the percentage of gonorrhea samples found to be resistant to azithromycin increased from 0.6 to 2.5 percent. So the overall rate is low, but it has jumped four-fold in the last two years. Similarly, ceftriaxone resistance has doubled in the last two years, going from 0.4 percent to 0.8 percent.
Indeed, these numbers are still low, but that is a massive increase in such a short amount of time. This of course, demonstrates that the bacteria could, in fact, be on a direct path to total immunity and could soon become nearly impossible to treat.