You want 2021 to be super. But not in a super way.
‘Super gonorrhea’ is currently becoming popular on Twitter, because why not? It’s 2020 after all. And what better thing to have at the end of a year a trend that brought us the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, a shortage of basically everything, constant drama in the White House and a presidential election that just will not end? Consider this sexually transmitted infection as the pie à la mode, the night shell, the last wipe of 2020.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, super gonorrhea is not a great way to have it. It will not ask you to say to your partner, “I have just returned from the doctor’s office, and I have excellent news for you.” No, telling him or her that you have supergonorrhea would be about as positive as saying you have sexy syphilis or chlamydia with candy. Super gonorrhea is also not a comic book hero, if you are wondering:
If it appeared in a movie, it would give super gonorrhea Ghost Rider a lead for the worst comic book ever.
Instead, supergonorrhea occurs when the bacteria that cause gonorrhea Neisseria gonorrhoeae, develops a high resistance to the antibiotics commonly used to treat the infection: azithromycin and ceftriaxone. As I did in 2017 for Forbes, the World Health Organization (WHO) has listed such strains of A. gonorrhoeae on the world’s most dangerous superbugs list. Do not include anything on this WHO WHO list when compiling your bucket list. ‘We have no more ways to treat your infection’, and it says ‘no one can fly the plane’ or ‘the hull of the cruise ship you are in is made of pickles’ on the list of things to do you do not want to hear.
Then in 2018 I covered for Forbes a case of a man from the United Kingdom (UK) who had a ‘super’ sexual encounter while traveling in Southeast Asia. The man developed symptoms a month later and was diagnosed with supergonorrhea. As a result, the man’s regular partner had to be tested in the UK, but she fortunately tested negative for the superug. It is not clear if this couple stayed together after the super-revelation. Things like not knowing how to tango you or infecting you with super gonorrhea can, after all, be a breakdown for some people when it comes to dating. If the relationship were to continue, the woman would still have a ticket to bring up in future arguments, such as: ‘what are you not taking out the trash? Well, do you remember the time you had sex with someone else and almost gave me gonorrhea? ‘
So why is supergonorrhea trending on Twitter when there are oh so many other things that can be trending? There are different possibilities:
But the trend seems to stem from a WHO spokesman The sun that excessive use of azithromycin and the lack of services for the treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic may fuel the emergence of supergonorrhea. Not the sun like in that fiery ball in the sky that you do not even have to look at during an eclipse The sun as in the British publication.
Indeed, use azithromycin more often for more resistant versions of N. gonorrhoeae. Remember earlier this year when some people used azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19? And some political leaders jumped on this bandwagon? This was even before well-constructed and conducted clinical studies were conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of such drugs for the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) infections. It was therefore an example of premature medication. Since then, clinical studies have not found enough evidence to support such use. In a comment in The Lancet, Catherine E. Oldenburg, PhD, an assistant professor and Thuy Doan, MD, PhD, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF) concluded ‘for patients with Covid-19, the additive of azithromycin to the existing standard of care does not appear to improve the outcomes, ”after the results of the COALITION II study examining the addition of azithromycin to hydroxychloroquine and the standard of care for the treatment of patients hospitalized with severe Covid-19 , rated.
Following the subsequent scientific evidence, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends Covid-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel now ‘against the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine with or without azithromycin for the treatment of Covid-19’ in hospital or non-hospitalized patients.
For anyone who may have said, “what’s the harm if you continue to use azithromycin for the treatment of SARS-CoV2 infections,” here is an excellent response. By indiscriminately using antibiotics on infectious diseases as if the medicine were Nutella, the growth of resistant organisms can be encouraged. Antibiotics such as azithromycin are considered a broad spectrum because they can kill or inactivate a wide variety of different bacteria. It’s like using a bomb rather than a gun. This can be helpful if you do not know what is causing the infection or if there is no other option.
Each time you use a broad-spectrum antibiotic rather than a much more targeted and specific treatment, you may experience more benign bacteria and weaker versions of a pathogen such as the N. gonorrhoeaeand allows stronger resistant versions an open field to thrive. The remaining strengths then multiply and become much more dominant. This is how more resistant versions of the bacteria take over and spread.
In the US, the five years from 2013 to 2018 saw a more than sevenfold jump in the percentage of N. gonorrhoeae samples less susceptible to azithromycin from 0.6% to 4.6%. The rise of azithromycin resistance in N. gonorrhoeae caused a change in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on December 18 for the treatment of uncomplicated gonorrhea. Instead of a two-drug azithromycin and ceftriaxone approach, the CDC now recommends just one 500 mg injection of ceftriaxone. By ‘uncomplicated’, the CDC means your current gonorrhea infections number one in your urinary tract, number two your rectum, your genitals or your throat. If you do not know how each of these places can be affected N. gonorrhoeae, you may need sex sex. More complicated gonorrhea may, of course, require antibiotics.
One problem with the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is that other pathogens did not necessarily take a breather. They did not spend most of their time on Zoom calls to mute each other and use the video filters while saying, “hey look at me, herpes with a hat.” Although social spread may have limited the spread of some pathogens such as flu, others may have had a good 2020.
After all, the pandemic not only prompted doctors to try different antibiotics to treat the Covid-19 coronavirus, but it also reduced the availability of doctors to treat STIs properly. The pandemic has shut down many “non-essential” health services or prevented many patients from seeking proper medical care. Therefore, people with untreated infections may run around or try to treat themselves with potentially inappropriate antibiotics.
As I have said repeatedly, the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has exposed many of the problems that already exist in society. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are one of them. If nothing is done to better address this looming problem, pathogens such as supergonorrhea will not go away in 2021 and beyond.