As if there weren't already enough reasons to practice safe-sex, yet another arrives courtesy of this week's Morbidity and Mortality Report from the CDC. Details follow.
After studying a decade's worth of gonorrhea infection data, the Centers for Disease Control has reason to believe that a drug-resistant superstrain of the STD is emerging.
USA Today crunches the numbers:
Researchers analyzed 10 years' worth of gonorrhea samples (isolates) from men in 30 U.S. cities. The samples were collected between January 2000 and June 2010 through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Project.
The analysis revealed an increase in the proportion of samples with elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs), the lowest concentration of antibiotics needed to halt the growth of gonorrhea bacteria. These increases in MICs suggest a decline in gonorrhea's susceptibility to antibiotics, the researchers explained in a CDC news release.
During the study period, the percentage of gonorrhea samples exhibiting elevated MICs rose from 0.2 to 1.4 percent of samples for cefixime (an oral cephalosporin) and from 0.1 to 0.3 percent for ceftriaxone (an injectable cephalosporin).
Still, despite the rising concern, there is still not a case of untreatable gonorrhea on the record books. However, the CDC cites these numbers as a reason to fear that possibility and to call upon the medical community for new methods of treatment and higher surveillance.