Health News of Wednesday, 29 January 2014
There is a new sexually transmitted superbug that experts say may be more deadly that AIDS.
According to a CNBC report, an antibiotic-resistant strain of gonorrhea is more aggressive than the HIV virus, which means the potential to infect the public will be greater.
Like most STDs, gonorrhea is usually transmitted through unprotected sexual contact and if left untreated, can cause severe medical complications, such as infertility in women, debilitating pain, sterility in men and life threatening heart infections.
Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine, thinks this new strain has the power to rack up more fatalities than AIDS. To date, more than the 30 million people have already died worldwide from AIDS-related complications.
“Getting gonorrhea from this strain might put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days,” said Christianson. “This is very dangerous.”
William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, echoed that sentiment. “It’s an emergency situation. As time moves on, it’s getting more hazardous,” said Smith.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, though no cases of the superbug officially called H041 were found in the US, steps must be taken to deal with the potential risks.
Gonorrhea can go undetected in some affected by the disease, showing no outward symptoms in about half of women and in 5 percent of men, which adds another level of difficulty in getting ahead of it.
This strain of STD which is resistant to antibiotic, reportedly kills half of those exposed and infects one in 20 hospital patients—which raises the threat of an outbreak to emergency levels.
Then there is the high cost of combating sexually transmitted diseases in general. The CDC’s tally to treat 20 million cases annually is approximately $16 billion. Of that 20 million STD cases, a reported 800,000 between the ages of 15 to 24, are infected with gonorrhea.
Even more alarming, some doctors believe the STD war is too costly to win.