It seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to epidemics. After a bout of various diseases, it seems STDs have taken over the country. STD clinics everywhere are reporting burgeoning cases of syphilis. However, the clinics are reporting a shortage of particular antibiotics to treat the outbreak.
The National Coalition of STD directors in collaboration with 38 other health clinics and agencies decided to write a collaborated letter to the White House Drug Shortage Task Force earlier this week. The officials are yet to comment on the issue.
The decision to inform the top body comes after Pfizer the producer of the antibiotic Bicillin, a tablet usually prescribed for syphilis is experiencing a shortage in the clinics. Not only are the orders being not fulfilled but they also are nowhere to be found which has been a cause of panic among the public.
After more than half of the pharmacists in the country complained about not being able to find enough drug supply, the government decided to form the Task Force earlier this year. Though they have meeting with Pharma companies for quite a while now, no recommendations have not been made pertaining to the current situation.
Syphilis cases have reached an all-time high after seeing a 75% jump in 2021. Describing the situation, Robert McDonald from the STD prevention division at the CDC said, “The rising congenital syphilis numbers [in the USA] reflect the reality of the nation’s syphilis epidemic and the growing trend of syphilis infections among women and their male sex partners.” However, the case was not the same a few years ago. According to a health Professor, “Part of the reason is the erosion in public health activities for sexual health since the mid-2000s.
There has been continued defunding of sexual health services and programs that include public health nurses and field staff who follow up on women to see if they’re getting treated. Rising rates of syphilis are a marker of a failed public health system. It is easily detected, and treatable, and congenital syphilis can be prevented by just treating the pregnant woman. But you get the public health you pay for.”
Syphilis is asymptomatic for most of the part except for painless sore and red rashes. If left untreated Syphilis could develop into something bigger like heart disease and major damage to many organs. This is besides the fact that you could spread it to a huge number of people if you have more than one sexual partner. The only treatment currently available for the disease includes the antibiotic that is injected into the body which currently is not available in enough quantities.
What is more staggering is the fact that syphilis can be transferred from a mother to the unborn child. If the mother doesn’t submit herself to a test before or after getting pregnant, chances are the child will have the disease as well. Now in infants, syphilis can cause severe bone damage, anemia, blindness, or deafness along with rashes and enlargement of various internal organs.
According to an article published in the National Library of Medicine by Dr. Sandra Arnold, “the diagnosis of suspected cases and management of congenital syphilis may be confusing, and the potential for severe disability is high when cases are missed.”
So for now prevention seems to be the only cure. Recently Doxy-PRP has also been suggested by the CDC as a way to stop the spread of STDs but it has yet to gain traction. However, it has also raised a lot of eyebrows and the outcome remains to be seen.
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