‘Incurable’ STI linked to infertility due to ‘silent spread’

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'Incurable' STI linked to infertility due to 'silent spread'
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A new possible sexually transmitted ‘superbug’ that has so far proven to be resistant to antibiotics has scientists worried amid an ‘out of control’ STD outbreak, with the medical community saying more testing for the disease is needed .

Mycoplasma genitalium – also known as M. genitalium or M. gen – is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that can cause genital pain, bleeding and swelling as well as infertility and miscarriage.

According to scientists, the worrying aspects of the infection epidemic are that there is little testing and little information available about it.

Amid warnings of an outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases ‘out of control’, scientists have sounded the alarm about a possible new ‘superbug’ that has proven resistant to antibiotics.
Thomas Deernick, NCMIR/Science

“It’s a real concern,” said Dr. Irene Stafford, associate professor of maternal fetal medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, according to NBC News. “Why don’t we look into this?

Like other common sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, M. gen can sometimes present as asymptomatic, and people can carry it for years without realizing they are infected, but complications can be serious.

A study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections in May reported that the risk of preterm birth nearly doubled in women with M. gen.

Stafford called for more STI research and testing this week at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conference for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, as the organization warned of an ‘out of control’ rise of STD cases in the United States.

M. gen can be transmitted during genital-to-genital sex as well as transmitted to unborn babies through mother-to-child transmission.

Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading in England, told the Daily Mail that there is a possibility of STIs becoming a “superbug” and completely resistant to antibiotics.

Mycoplasma Genitalium - Also Known As M. Genitalium Or M. Gen - Is A Sexually Transmitted Bacterial Infection.
Mycoplasma genitalium – also known as M. genitalium or M. gen – is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology

Clarke identified the lack of information about the disease as the problem, telling the publication that it will continue to become more mainstream until people are aware of it.

According to the professor, the path to becoming a superbug is a vicious cycle: doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics usually used to treat STIs, and this fuels their resistance to this antibiotic. This gives Mr. gen. the potential to evolve into a superbug.

Mr. Gem Can Cause Genital Pain, Bleeding, And Swelling As Well As Infertility And Miscarriage.
Mr. gem can cause genital pain, bleeding, and swelling as well as infertility and miscarriage.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology

The CDC does not recommend regular testing for M. gen and the only test to identify it – called the Aptima Nucleic Acid Amplification Test – was only approved in 2019 and is not yet available everywhere.

Patients will only be tested for M. gen if they are negative for other STIs and have persistent symptoms.

Mr. Gen Can Be Transmitted Through Genital-To-Genital Sex As Well As Transmitted To Unborn Babies Through Mother-To-Child Transmission.
M. gen can be transmitted during genital-to-genital sex as well as transmitted to unborn babies through mother-to-child transmission.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology

It’s hard to say which demographic of people the disease affects most and what the exact symptoms of M. gen are, although some identified symptoms include:

  • Pain and discomfort when urinating.
  • Abnormal discharge for men and women.
  • Women may also experience pain in the lower abdomen and bleeding after sex.

Infection rates for some STDs have been rising for years in the United States. Last year, the rate of syphilis cases hit its highest since 1991, and the total number of cases hit its highest since 1948. HIV cases are also on the rise, up 16% a year last.

New York Post

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