Tag Archives | epidemiology

CDC: Untreatable Gonorrhea Might Be Just Around the Corner

Picture: National Archives and Records Administration (PD)

Via NPR:

There’s disturbing news coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The sexually-transmitted disease Gonorrhea is getting close to being untreatable. There’s only one antibiotic left that works against the disease, and if gonorrhea continues to mutate then it too may become ineffective. That’s right: You could have “the clap” for the rest of your life, and it’s all because of the over-prescription of antibiotics:

“Gonorrhea used to be susceptible to penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and doxycycline — very commonly used drugs,” said Jonathan Zenilman, who studies infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins.

But one by one, each of those antibiotics — and almost every new one that has come along since — eventually stopped working. One reason is that the bacterium that causes gonorrhea can mutate quickly to defend itself, Zenilman said.

“If this was a person, this person would be incredibly creative,” he said.

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Rabies Antibodies Detected Among Some Peruvians

Via NPR:

Left untreated, infection with rabies virus almost always results in a painful death. There has been some limited success with experimental treatment regimens (notably the Milwaukee Protocol), but these are exceptions to the rule: Once the symptoms begin to manifest, the only options left for treatment are palliative in nature. Recently, though, scientists discovered a small group of Peruvians who carry rabies antibodies. They’re not sure why they do, but one theory is that repeated exposure to the virus through the bites of vampire bats may have helped them gradually develop immunity. NPR has the story:

In remote regions of the Amazon jungle, small communities of people live near bat roosts, and rabies infections are relatively common among them. At least five outbreaks killed 19 people in the Peruvian Amazon in 2009.

So a team from the CDC, lead by disease ecologist Amy Gilbert, went to two villages near these outbreaks looking for signs of rabies exposure in healthy people.

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