Gonorrhea, one of the the smartest of all the bacterial STDs, is on the rise. From Wyoming to Utah to Minnesota, there are reports of cases increasing, some by 74 percent—all on the heels of the first incurable strain hitting North American genitalia back earlier this year. And now, British doctors who devote their careers to studying The Clap are warning that the disease could be completely untreatable sooner than the U.S. elects a new president. "[T]here is a possibility that if we don't do something then it could become untreatable by 2015," professor Cathy Ison, head of the National Reference Laboratory for Gonorrhea in the U.K., told the BBC Wednesday.
"Untreatable," as Dr. Ison sees it, would be a nightmare scenario not only for patients bound to suffer complications like infertility and ectopic pregnancies, but also for doctors who could no longer break transmission, becoming unprepared to deal with more complex infections. And though Ison's warning of a gonorrhea doomsday is a hypothetical worst-case scenario, the troubling signs of growing cases and incurable strains are already here.
On a state-by-state basis, pockets of the U.S. are seeing giant spikes in the disease. Utah saw a 74 percent rise in gonorrhea cases in 2012, with the trend continuing into the first few months of this year. Over in Minnesota, cases of The Clap rose 35 percent in 2012, according to the state's department of health, and according to the latest statistics from the CDC, "During 2010–2011, 61% (31/51) of states, plus the District of Columbia, reported an increase in gonorrhea rates."