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WHO: Antibiotic resistance causing untreatable STDs


Antibiotic resistance
(NaturalNews) The World Health Organization (WHO) had to release new guidelines on Wednesday for treating one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the world, due to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance, a phenomenon resulting in the development of superbugs resistant to modern day antibiotics.

The medical community is running out of ways to treat gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease caused by an infection of the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, says the WHO.

The disease is known to infect warm, moist parts of the human body including the throat, eyes, vagina, urethra and anus. It can also infect the female reproductive tract, including the fallopian tubes and cervix.

As many as 820,000 new cases of gonorrhea arise in the U.S. each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and approximately 78 million cases are diagnosed worldwide. The disease is most often contracted during sex among those between 15 and 24 years of age, data shows.

Cases of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea surfacing around the world, reports confirm

Until very recently, gonorrhea was treated with a class of antibiotics called quinolones; however, those days are over, according to the U.N. health agency.

Quinolone-resistant strains of gonorrhea have now been detected all over the world, prompting the WHO to recommend another class of antibiotics called cephalosporins, which belong to a class known as beta-lactams.

Cephalosporins, molecularly similar to penicillin, are used to treat a variety of bacterial infections, including those of the ear, skin, kidneys, bone and throat. They are also administered as a treatment for pneumonia and meningitis.

The WHO has not updated its recommendations for treating gonorrhea since 2003, according to National Public Radio.

The primary contributors to antibiotic resistance

Health officials say that the over-prescription of antibiotics is one of the primary causes of superbugs; however, there are also other factors at play.

Biosolids, or sewage sludge, a product consisting of human sewage and industrial waste, is a large contributor to the spread of deadly superbugs.

The waste comes from numerous industries, including the pharmaceutical industry, resulting in thousands of different medications that are unsuccessfully filtered out by inadequate waste water treatment plants. The drugs eventually end up in our environment where they develop resistance.

The land application of biosolids for fertilizer purposes is essentially "a hotbed for the growth and spread of resistant bacterial strains," Natural News has reported.

The biosludge treatment process is also inefficient for removing pathogens, which enter the environment and are picked up and transported by birds and insects, including mosquitoes.

Majority of antibiotics sold in U.S. are used on farm animals

Another and more widely known contributor to antibiotic resistance is the process of factory farming. Thankfully, the agriculture industry is finally scaling back its use of antibiotics given to farm animals, but some say the damage has already been done.

"Antibiotics are also given to factory farm animals to not only prevent disease but also accelerate their growth and development – a greed-based approach to maximizing farm profits that's having a devastating effect on antibiotic effectiveness."

About 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the U.S. are given to farm animals, not humans, and the majority of those drugs are used for growth, not for preventing disease.

Superbug infections can be spread to humans when meat is consumed. Resistant bacteria also enter the environment through animal manure, as industrial livestock operations produce billions of tons of animal waste.

As demonstrated, the over-prescription of antibiotics by doctors is probably the least of our worries. Until these industrial practices are curbed, antibiotic resistance is sure to remain an imminent threat to humans.

Antibiotics becoming less and less effective for what were previously easy-to-treat diseases

"Gonorrhea used to be susceptible to penicillin, ampicillin, tetracycline and doxycycline — very commonly used drugs," said Jonathan Zenilman, an infectious disease expert 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.

"If this was a person, this person would be incredibly creative. The bug has an incredible ability to adapt and just develop new mechanisms of resisting the impact of these drugs," he said.

Sources:

HealthLine.com

EverydayHealth.com

NaturalNews.com

ConsumersUnion.org

SustainableTable.org

EPA.gov

NPR.org
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