THE Oxford dictionary defines “apocalypse” as a revelation, translated from ancient Greek which literally means “uncovering”.
The word appeared from about 200 BC and is assumed to make revelation of the ultimate divine purpose, especially concerning cataclysm in which the forces of good triumph over evil. It is suppose to represent any revelation or prophecy.
In modern days, the word “apocalypse” is somehow associated with evil triumphing over good. It strikes fear of the ultimate destruction and widespread disaster, almost to the scale of a nuclear war and the end of the world.
Will we get to see “apocalypse” in our lifetime? According to many scientists, the dooms day is approaching, namely due to the emergence of “superbugs” that can overcome the advent of antibiotics.
This week, we explore the emergence of multi-resistance sexually transmitted bacteria. Is it a sheer nuisance, or the true rise of apocalypse in mankind?
Dear Dr G,
I am rather embarrassed and I hope you don't mind I remain anonymous.
I am 27 years old and have started several relationships in the past two years.
I confess that I engaged in unprotected sex with women during initial encounters, and ended up with all sorts of problems.
The first time I contracted a sexually transmitted infection was two years ago, and I ended up with a persistent milky discharge in my urine.
The doctor tested the urine and confirmed gonorrhea. He treated me with doxycycline and the infection was cured after three days.
I started having burning sensations, perhaps from another sexual encounter. I went to another doctor who gave me azithromycin.
As I contracted the infections several times, I started to purchase the antibiotics over the counter.
Sadly, on the last occasion, azithromycin or the doxycycline did not work on me. Therefore, I was forced to see the doctor again.
I went to the doctor and he said I need intravenous antibiotic, as the infections are now resistant to many antibiotics.
What I don't understand is why the cultures of my urine have been negative?
Am I facing any serious problem with my infection? Will I be cured?
A recent report of a woman in Pennsylvania recovered from a urinary tract infection was noted to have an infection of bacteria that was resistant to colistin.
As the DNA that gives bacteria resistance to the antibiotics and spread between species, mcr-1 gene, was identified in this woman’s pathogen.
It became apparent the multi-drug resistant contagions could be “the end of the line” for the infection, as there is no other medication available for such bacteria.
There may be dooms days ahead in medicine and most of us choose to bury our head in the sand.
When I mentioned “we”, I really mean “we”. This is no longer the responsibility of an individual; this is a wake up call for mankind.
Effectively, there are four stakeholders causing this crisis. On one hand, we have doctors ditching out the pills without proper determination of diagnosis, and the patients who have access to the medications without prescription.
On the other hand, the pharmaceutical company may not be driven enough to come up with the new pills, and other industries such as farming and agricultures also pouring the compounds into the environment.
Therefore it is not difficult to predict a catastrophe soon. Of course, in the micro level, our reader is also not helping with the situation.
Taking risky sexual behavior will not only result in repeated infections with sexually transmitted infections, it also diminishes his chances of eradication, the more he is exposed to the infection.
Common sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are notoriously contagious with each unprotected sexual contacts, and these may also harbour in hosts, especially women with minimal symptoms.
To add to the problems, the pathogen do not grow in conventional cultures, and only detectable on DNA tests. This will give many patients the false sense of security that they are infection free.
Alexander Fleming’s accidental discovery and isolation of penicillin in 1928 marked the start of modern antibiotics. Interestingly, this was also the first drug to treat the rampant gonorrhea infections at that time.
The sad fact is, over the last century, the misuse of antibiotic has rendered penicillin totally useless in the treatment of such infection.
Over the recent year, the resistant statistics for such pathogens have gone from bad to worse, common oral antibiotics such as quinolone, tetracycline and azithromycin have become less effective, partly due to improper usage and under dose without medical supervisions.
When Fleming was granted the Nobel Award in 1945, the Laureate somehow had an inclination of what was going to happen one century later.
In his acceptance speech, Fleming warned: “But I would like to sound one note of warning. It is not difficult to make the microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing then to concentrations not sufficient to kill them."
So, for the sake of mankind, I urge our anonymous reader to take charge of your sex life: “Be less promiscuous and wear a condom. Don't be that person in history to set off the infectious apocalypse with your sexual behavior.”