Tens of thousands of English patients are said to be infected with new sexually transmitted diseases
First resistant cases of the bacterium discovered
Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK may already be infected with a new sexually transmitted disease. The responsible bacterium is called Mycoplasma genitalium (MG). The infection is only recognizable by very few symptoms and is transmitted through sexual contact.
According to estimates, one percent of all people in the UK between the ages of 16 and 44 are already infected with MG. The long-term effects of the disease may include testicular pain, abdominal pain, inflammation of the urethra or cervix, and in women also bleeding after sex. But most infected people do not experience any symptoms, according to a new study. The scientists suggest that MG has great effects on pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and ectopic pregnancies. The disease was actually discovered more than 30 years ago. In the latest study on this topic, it has now been established that some cases of drug-resistant MG have already occurred. The results of the investigations were published in the "International Journal of Epidemiology".
Illness often occurs without symptoms
The physician Dr. Nigel Field of Public Health England (PHE) said that there is now more evidence to help classify MG as a sexually transmitted disease. This theory was compounded by the fact that two hundred 16- to 17-year-olds who had no vaginal, anal or oral sex had no MG infections. Worryingly, more than 90 percent of all infected men and more than half of all diseased women have no symptoms, said the researchers in a statement.
It may be possible that MG does not break out in all people who have been infected by the virus. At the present time, laboratory tests by MG are not yet widespread in the UK. The medical expert added that "further research into the clinical consequences of MG infection would have to be performed." The findings obtained could then help to develop "a possible screening for the infection or even an antidote."
Rapid increase of sexual diseases in the UK
The latest figures from "Public Health England" show a rapid increase of some sexually transmitted diseases. For example, there was an increase of 19 percent in gonorrhea and even 33 percent in syphilis. In the UK, nearly 35,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported last year. This disease is the second most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection after chlamydia. As with all sexually transmitted diseases, using condoms and reducing sexual risk behavior may help curb the spread of the infection. So the infection rate was much higher in people who had more than four sexual partners in the last year. Under these circumstances, the rate of infection in men increased to 5.2 percent and to 3.1 percent in women.
In the majority of participants tested positive for MG, no symptoms were observed in the last month. More than half of all infected women have no obvious symptoms, but in women with symptoms, bleeding after sex is very common. These findings suggest that it would be a mistake to examine only the patients with symptoms for the purpose of the study. The researchers would not notice the majority of MG diseases, Dr. Pam Sonnenberg, lead author of the study. She added that further research was needed "to understand the clinical implications of the infection and possible longer-term complications." (As)