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Your Healthy Family: Antibiotic resistant gonorrhea isn't a new - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Antibiotic resistant gonorrhea isn't a new problem

The issues we've been having with gonorrhea actually date back to the 1930's and 40's. The issues we've been having with gonorrhea actually date back to the 1930's and 40's.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

There have been recent stories about a new antibiotic resistant strain of gonorrhea.  Alex Novin is a  infectious disease clinical pharmacist with UCHealth Memorial who says while the recent headlines of the disease becoming *more resistant to antibiotics are accurate, the problem isn't new.

“The issues we've been having with gonorrhea actually date back to the 1930's and 40's.  The story of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea has been going on for a very long time.  To give you some recent context, the CDC in 2007 completely wrote off another class of antibiotics from being used to treat gonorrhea and it wasn’t the first time that's happened dating back to the 30's and 40's.”

The larger problem of so called "superbugs" becoming more resistant to antibiotics is tied to overuse and how antibiotics work says Alex.

“There's good and bad bacteria out there, and among the bad bacteria there's bacteria that are more and less drug resistant.  When you give antibiotics to someone you wipe out pretty much all the good bacteria and the more vulnerable bad bacteria.  What then happens is the more resistant bacteria has a chance to overgrow and basically take up all the room that's been cleared out by the antibiotics and that can make you sick, or prolong any illness you currently have.”

Alex says overuse of antibiotics for other diseases also ties into the latest developments with gonorrhea.

“Gonorrhea as a bacteria is really adaptable and very skilled at making resistance to antibiotics.  It also likes to share those resistances with its friends very rapidly.  One of the other problems that we have with  gonorrhea and ties back to antimicrobial overuse, is a lot of gonorrhea infection it can be asymptomatic so you don't know you have it but it's there.  Then if you get sick from another infection you're giving antibiotics possibly for that bacteria, which may not actually kill the gonorrhea.  That gives the gonorrhea  a chance to see antibiotics and build resistance to them, while those antibiotics were never meant to kill the gonorrhea.”

Just like reducing the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in general by taking steps like frequent hand washing and not insisting your doctor prescribe you antibiotics every time you don't feel well, Alex says when it comes to gonorrhea always practicing safe sex will keep you the safest and most effectively prevent its spread.  If you have any questions follow up with your doctor.

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