How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr Uzair Your Own Question

Dr Uzair
Dr Uzair, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 6957
Experience:  MBBS, FCPS (R) General Surgery. Years of experience in Emergency Medicine.
27273415
Type Your Medical Question Here...
Dr Uzair is online now

Will the large majority of bacterial infections clear without

Resolved Question:

Will the large majority of bacterial infections clear without treatment. In the pre-antibiotic era, what do you think happened to all those people who got strep throat, pneumonia, gonorrhea, impetigo, and urinary tract infections when no antibiotics were available?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr Uzair replied 2 years ago.
Dr Uzair :

Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I shall try my best to assist you while you are corresponding with me.

Dr Uzair :

In the prebiotic era many people who suffered from infections used to succumb to them and die, or were left with morbid complications severely impairing their quality of life.

Dr Uzair :

Pneumonia would cause respiratory failure, abscess and fibrosis impairing the respiratory tract,

Dr Uzair :

Strept throats would lead to scarlet fever, which would cause heart failure and eventually death.

Dr Uzair :

It would depend on the type of infection, severity, immunity of the individual infected etc.

Dr Uzair :

Nowadays, the bacteria are even more resistant because they are used to fighting off broad spectrum antibiotics and in today's world infections are more lethal than they used to be. Fighting off an infection without antibiotics is inviting trouble, most of the times countering these infections without newer broad spectrum antibiotics is very difficult as well since the bacteria mutate and evolve in to resistant strains every day.

Customer:

Would you concur that natural clearance by the immune system is the norm for the large majority of bacterial infections. There are exceptions -- syphilis and TB, to name two very important ones. But aside from syphilis, all bacterial STDs are naturally eradicated.

Dr Uzair :

While antibiotics have helped increase survival, it is actually also the invention of other medical techniques that have augmented this.

Dr Uzair :

Fighting off any infection - syphilis or STDs without antibiotics will cause a lot of morbidity, more time spent in the bed, in isolation, away from work, might leave some lesions unhealed, scars etc. which is actually more morbid than the actual disease itself.

Dr Uzair :

So, while the immune system will actually clear the original infection, it will give rise to an array of other conditions (complications) that would require more energy and fight from an already drained immune system.

Dr Uzair :

Which will eventually, lead to the patient dying or left severely scarred. I wouldn't call that clearance.

Customer:

What about bacterial STD's (in males) such as Non-specific urethritis (NSU), Chlamydia and Gonorrhea?

Dr Uzair :

Like I said, there is a minute chance that the original infection might clear up.

Dr Uzair :

But, the course of clearance will be prolonged and there's a huge possibility that it causes complications, sepsis, hospitalization, death.

Dr Uzair :

So, a course of antibiotics is a better way of clearing these infections specially because nowadays the strains of bacteria that cause these infections are very resistant and extremely dangerous if left to the immune system.

Dr Uzair :

Our immune systems are not as strong as they used to be since we have been using antibiotics and living clean.

Dr Uzair :

In brief, the bacteria are getting stronger, and our immunity - weaker.

Dr Uzair :

Do you have more queries?

Customer:

So in your opinion bacterial infections (in males) such as Non-specific urethritis (NSU), Chlamydia and Gonorrhea would not be naturally eradicated by the immune system?

Dr Uzair :

Yes, that is correct, they will not be eradicated by the immune system nowadays.

Customer:

But in the pre antibiotic era these infections would naturally be eradicated?

Dr Uzair :

No, not all of them, most of them would kill the patient. That is why invention of penicillin was such a big break through.

Dr Uzair :

Infections like strept throat, syphilis, pnuemonia, that are considered curable today were life takers back then.

Customer:

Ok, but what about STD's such as Non-specific urethritis (NSU), Chlamydia and Gonorrhea?

Dr Uzair :

Any infection in the pre antibiotic era had a grim chance of clearing up. Non specific urethritis, chlamydia and gonorrhea included.

Customer:

Ok so would you concur or disagree with the below statement from H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D

Customer:

"The large majority of bacterial infections clear without treatment. In the pre-antibiotic era, what do you think happened to all those people who got strep throat, pneumonia, gonorrhea, impetigo, and urinary tract infections when no antibiotics were available? They were cleared by the immune system.

Of course this doesn't mean these infections don't need treatment. Although 90% of people recovered from bacterial pneumonia, 10% died; and there's a big difference between being ill for a week versus 6 weeks. Antibiotic treatment also prevents complications that were far more common before the 1940s.

Anyway, natural clearance by the immune system is the norm for the large majority of bacterial infections. There are exceptions -- syphilis and TB, to name two very important ones. But aside from syphilis, all bacterial STDs are naturally eradicated."

Dr Uzair :

Partly agree with this. But the part where statistics are given, well, in the 19th and the 20th century, reporting infections and cases of STDs was not as efficient so as to conclude who got better from a particular infection and who died, back then, identification of one bacteria from another was also difficult, so chlamydia, gonorrhea etc couldn't be specified.

Dr Uzair :

And in the above statement, he only talks about Pneumonia as being cleared up without antibiotics.

Dr Uzair :

"and there's a big difference between being ill for a week versus 6 weeks."

Dr Uzair :

So, that is what I said, and during those 6 weeks while the immune system is fighting off the original infection, the body goes through a lot of irreparable damage.

Customer:

Ok so on a final note. In your opinion STI's such as Non-specific urethritis (NSU), Chlamydia and Gonorrhea specifically would not be naturally cleared/eradicated by an healthy immune system in Males over a pro-longed period (5 years+)?

Dr Uzair :

Yes, that is correct.

Customer:

Thanks.

Dr Uzair, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 6957
Experience: MBBS, FCPS (R) General Surgery. Years of experience in Emergency Medicine.
Dr Uzair and 3 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me FROM a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O.
< Previous | Next >
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me FROM a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Family Physician

    Family Physician

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    2418
    GP with over 27 years experience including emergency medicine
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/FA/FamilyPhysician/2013-8-31_191624_JA550x500Photo.64x64.jpg Family Physician's Avatar

    Family Physician

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    2418
    GP with over 27 years experience including emergency medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/DO/DoctorRich/2012-9-12_72454_Doctorweb.64x64.jpg Dr. Natasha's Avatar

    Dr. Natasha

    Doctor

    Satisfied Customers:

    7887
    American Board Certified in Emergency Medicine, Ivy League trained
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/DR/DrK99/newpic2.64x64.jpg Dr. K.'s Avatar

    Dr. K.

    Board Certified MD

    Satisfied Customers:

    255
    Board certified with experience in primary care.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/agketch/2008-7-14_184046_drketchresized.jpg Dr. Ketch's Avatar

    Dr. Ketch

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    76
    Medical Degree, Former Assistant Professor at School of Medicine at Yale University
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/JA/JACUSTOMERjtu60wne/2011-2-14_183449_passportphoto2.64x64.jpg docwithheart's Avatar

    docwithheart

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    0
    Board certified pediatrician, with special experience in general pediatrics, hospital pediatrics, and pediatric cardiology
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/DR/drappapo/2013-8-16_22576_drdavid.64x64.jpg Dr. David's Avatar

    Dr. David

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    224
    Treat children/young adults, former chief resident, multiple publications
  • http://ww2.justanswer.co.uk/uploads/TA/tazechip/2012-6-7_135230_drpic.64x64.png Dr. Chip's Avatar

    Dr. Chip

    Board Certified Physician

    Satisfied Customers:

    12373
    20 yrs. in practice, includinge surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine and pain.
 
 
 

Related Medical Questions