home Building science Scary long read in the NY Times on the “return of syphilis”

Scary long read in the NY Times on the “return of syphilis”

Not for the faint of heart. But this is an important article and worth a look: Hunting a Killer: Sex, Drugs and the Return of Syphilis – The New York Times

In the article, Jan Hoffman discussed the “return of symphilis” – that is, how syphilis has been undergoing an increase in the number of outbreaks and its prevalence in many places in the US. Some key points from this article (direct quotes here)

  • Nearly five times as many babies across the country are born with syphilis as with H.I.V.
  • Although syphilis can be cured with an injection, there has been a shortage of the antibiotic, made only by Pfizer, for over a year.
  • The Trump administration has proposed a 17 percent cut to the federal prevention budget.
  • By 2000, only 5,970 cases were reported in the United States, the lowest since 1941, when reporting became mandatory. cBut in the last few years, it has crept back.

The story is worth a read for many reasons but in particular because it provides a sobering point of view on how, even when we have treatments for some microbial pathogens, they can still spread and /or be hard to deal with.

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David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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