Experts Warn Against Mycoplasma Genitalium – A New STD That ‘Could Become Next Superbug’
Experts have warned of an uncommon Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) – an emerging sex disease, which often has no symptoms but may pose a great health risk if people aren’t more cautious.
The experts are of the opinion that MG, which can be mistaken for chlamydia and is more resistant to antibiotics, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can leave some women infertile.
The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) has released new guidelines on how to treat and diagnose the disease.
Mycoplasma genitalium is a bacterium that can cause inflammation of the urethra in men, causing discharge from the penis and making it painful to urinate.
In women, it can cause inflammation of the reproductive organs (womb and fallopian tubes) too, causing pain and possibly a fever and some bleeding.
BASHH recommends that MG is treated with a seven-day course of the antibiotic, doxycycline, followed by a course of azithromycin.
It can also be treated by an antibiotic called macrolides, but the guidelines warned that MG is becoming increasingly resistant to it.
You can get it by having unprotected sex with someone who has it. Condoms can prevent this spread.
While tests for MG have been developed, it is understood that they are not currently available at all clinics.
“These new guidelines have been developed because we can’t afford to continue with the approach we have followed for the past 15 years as this will undoubtedly lead to a public health emergency,” said Paddy Horner, senior lecturer in sexual health at Bristol University.
Peter Greenhouse, a sexual consultant in Bristol and BASHH member, advised that people be more cautious by using condoms.
“It’s about time the public learned about Mycoplasma genitalium,” Greenhouse said.
“It’s yet another good reason to pack the condoms for the summer holidays – and actually use them.”
It was first identified in the UK in the 1980s and is thought to affect 1-2% of the general population.
MG does not always cause symptoms and will not always need treatment, but it can be missed or mistaken for a different sexually transmitted infection, such as Chlamydia.