Forget About That Corny Corner-Ribbon's Drivel! The Real Secret is HERE Indeed - not over there!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Something for the ex-men to ponder...

Mutant syphilis proving resistant to antibiotics -Associated Press
Hmm... will Marvel Entertainment let another mutant property get away like those teen tortoises managed to escape, somehow...? If there is mutant moolah to be made, you can bet that Marvel Entertainment wants to take more than its fair cut of it...!

A fast-spreading mutant strain of syphilis has proved resistant to the antibiotic pills that are offered to some patients as an alternative to painful penicillin shots. The Scarlet Witch must have been the infamous "patient one" of this - she has virus spreader written all over her...

Since the late 1990s, doctors and public health clinics have been giving azithromycin to some syphilis patients because the long-acting antibiotic pill was highly effective and easy to use. Four pills taken at once were usually enough to cure syphilis. Yes... this "social disease" is still an embarrassment and a profound annoyance, but it isn't half as bad as aids - it is curable now!

But now researchers at University of Washington in Seattle have found at least 10 percent of syphilis samples from patients at sexually transmitted disease clinics in four cities had a strain resistant to azithromycin. Oh-oh... spoke too soon, have we? The embarrassment struck back!

"That suggests that this mutation is pretty widely distributed geographically," said Sheila A. Lukehart, research professor of infectious diseases. Nice - her initials form the name S.A.L. - I like originality wherever I see it! ;)

The percentage of samples from San Francisco with the mutant strain jumped from 4 percent in 1999-2002 to 37 percent in 2003, with the increase taking place largely among gay or bisexual men with multiple partners. Now why would that be I wonder...? Why them... and not, say, ubiquitous heterosexual irksome television personalities instead... hmm?!?

The study was reported in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine. My favorite - right behind The Skeptical Chronicles, yeah...

Experts say doctors should switch to penicillin or other antibiotics if azithromycin does not work. But some of those antibiotics can cause nausea and other side effects and must be taken for two weeks; some patients do not complete their treatment and are not cured. Just what the public needs - more medication side-effects and nefarious symptoms-type of trouble (FDA - Where Art Thou?) and coupled up this time with a new epidemic...

Experts said the findings also show that syphilis patients treated with azithromycin must have follow-up tests to be sure they are cured. After syphilis sores disappear, the disease can silently attack the brain and cause dementia, paralysis and death. And you thought Celebrex was bad, people... eh?

Penicillin has long been the recommended treatment for syphilis. But it must be given in two buttocks injections much more painful than typical shots, because a large amount of the solution must be forced into the muscle. Ahh - the good old days of "rough-around-the-edges medecine are back I see... eh?

Syphilis decreased in the United States through the 1990s, then climbed 19 percent from 2000 to 2003 to about 7,100 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not exactly the Black Plague... eh? More like the black and blue variety... Only the not lonely enough for their own good know its effects...

The CDC attributed the spike to a twelvefold rise in cases among gay and bisexual men, many of whom are also infected with the AIDS virus. Oops - now this is getting serious folks...

Lukehart studied 114 syphilis samples from Seattle, San Francisco, Baltimore and Dublin, Ireland, finding 28 percent were resistant to azithromycin, including 88 percent of the Dublin samples. Bloody hell; there seems to be no pot of gold at the end of this downpour... heck, there sure isn't any rainbow in sight...

Dr. John Douglas, director of the CDC's division of sexually transmitted disease prevention, said the agency is formulating a plan to test for resistant strains in some areas. Nice example of quick thinking - if the gays of San Fran and the terrorists of the IRA are feeling woozy and demented from azithromycin treatment, they won't be in any condition to go around spreading the disease elsewhere... And they can do some good by testing new ways to deal with this damnable resistant strain... Aye, verily, we are all in this fight together...! Kudos, Doctor Douglas! ;)

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