Here’s some unbearably horrifying news: a near-untreatable strain of gonorrhoea has reached Australia, and cases are on the up.
The first report from the National Alert System for Critical Antimicrobial Resistance (CARAlert) identified over 1000 cases of untreatable superbugs in Australia in the twelve months prior to March this year, and over 60% of those were this particular strain of gonorrhea.
“What worries us is that the single agent left for treating patients might fail and the disease might spread,” senior medical adviser Professor John Turnidge told the ABC.
He also told the SMH that these are “super-superbugs”, the ones “we can’t afford to let get out of hand.” Wonderful!
Gonorrhea is usually treated with the antibiotic azithormycin, but it’s doing absolutely jack shit to cure this strain.
“Not having antibiotics to treat these infections would be a nightmare,” Turnidge told the SMH. “It means people will die that don’t need to die.”
Gonorrhea is one of those hellish STIs that can sometimes be symptomless. It can cause infertility in both men and women, and, if left untreated, can spread to the blood and cause a disseminated gonoccocal infection, a life-threatening condition.
“At the sharp end, you have patients who develop blood poisoning and septicaemia,” Turnidge continued. “These patients get desperately ill and end up in intensive care units.”
Exciting, exciting stuff. Obviously the issue of superbugs is a wide one, helped along by decades of overprescribing antibiotics as well as poor hygiene and lax infection control in hospitals / nursing homes, but the really easy thing you can do to avoid STIs is practise safe sex – and get ya’self tested on the reg.
Photo: Mean Girls.
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