September 27, 2012
SEX AND THE SUPERBUG: The Rise of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea. “In January, 2009, a thirty-one-year-old prostitute visited a clinic in Kyoto, Japan, for a routine checkup. Because sex workers are so likely to acquire sexually transmitted diseases, many have themselves checked for infections even in the absence of symptoms. Indeed, although the woman displayed no outward signs of gonorrhea, her lab test came back positive; she carried the gonococcus microbe in her throat, a common reservoir. After a second visit, doctors at the clinic gave her an injection of ceftriaxone, an antibiotic considered by infectious-disease experts to be the definitive treatment for gonorrhea. It didn’t work; two weeks later, when she returned to the clinic, a throat culture again tested positive. She was given another dose, but it, too, failed, and, at first, doctors assumed that she had been newly infected. Now, however, public-health experts view the Kyoto case as something far more alarming: the emergence of a strain of gonorrhea that is resistant to the last drug available against it, and the harbinger of a sexually transmitted global epidemic. . . . ‘This is what we have feared for many years.’”
I sound like a broken record, but we need new antibiotics, and, even more, new therapies that aren’t based on antibiotics at all. Why aren’t we seeing more action on phage therapy?