4 New and Potentially Dangerous Sexually Transmitted Diseases Scientists Are Keeping A Close Eye On

4 New and Potentially Dangerous Sexually Transmitted Diseases Scientists Are Keeping A Close Eye On

New diseases are occurring every day including sexually transmitted diseases (or infections). There are four bacteria that have the potential to become a major public health problem.

Neisseria meningitides

This disease can lead to invasive meningitis, which could lead to a dead brain and spinal cord infection. However, its reputation has spilled over into the reproductive system after male chimpanzee suffered a urogenital infection after the bacteria was passed from its throat and nose to its penis.

Up 10 percent of adults have the N meningitides bacteria in their throat and nose, which means they could pass the disease during oral sex to their partners as well as kissing and other types of close contact that leads to droplets being transmitted.

Scientists found that a strain of this disease hit several cities in the U.S during 2015, attained through the DNA of the closer N gonorrhoeae relative – the bacteria that leads to gonorrhea. Due to the mutation, the STI can spread much more quickly. There are five kinds of N. meningitides out there, but there are only two vaccines to give some protection against these five.

Mycoplasma genitalium

This smallest bacteria that causes STI has gained a huge reputation for being the most troubling. It was first seen in the 1980s and is thought to have infected up to two percent of individuals - mostly teens and young adults.

While most people who have this disease don’t know because it doesn’t produce any symptoms, it can display signs that gonorrhea or chlamydia exhibit. This can lead to misdiagnosis by doctors, and leading to pelvic inflammatory disease. If not treated right away, PID can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, infertility and stillbirth.

Condoms do help stem the rate of infection, but it’s been noted that’s drug resistant to doxycycline and azithromycin. This could lead to cases where the disease is found to be even more resistant and incurable.

Additional testing could help stop the development of the superbug. And, even though there are diagnostic methods available to detect the bug, most people are never tested for it, and no regulatory hurdles have been made clear.

Shigella flexneri

The Shigella flexneri bacteria is based through direct or indirect contact with human feces. A person infected with this bacteria could have major abdominal cramps and explosive diarrhea with blood and mucus. This aids in the transmission of the disease.

Though it’s more commonly seen in travelers of middle to low-income countries and children, it’s also been reported by researchers to infect gay and bisexual men. According to scientists, it’s a new kind of STI that’s transmitted through anal-oral sex and has caused several STD outbreaks since the 1970s.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Deputy Commissioner Demetre Daskalaskis said the STI is quickly becoming antibiotic resistant to the same drug used to treat gonorrhea (azithromycin).

Due to the fear of a gonorrhea superbug, health officials suggest not treating shigellosis, which will clear up on its own.

Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)

The LGV STI is the result of an unusual Chlamydia trachomatis strain, which can lead to a major infection. LGV can cause a temporary blister, genital pimple or ulcer that than infects the lymphatic system. If the infection spreads to the rectum, it can produce symptoms similar to inflammatory bowel disease as well as severe and chronic colon and rectal abnormalities (strictures and fistulas).

In the last 10 years, LGV has increased in commonality for both North America and Europe. It’s also been tied to a number of disease outbreaks in bisexual and gay men. Similar to chlamydia, the disease can boost the chance of catching HIV. The spread of the disease can be reduced by using condoms during anal and vaginal. It can be treated with a three-week course of antibiotics.

While researchers and scientists can’t stop the emergence of new diseases, practicing safe sex can prevent an outbreak from occurring in new ones. Be sure to get tested regularly and seek treatment if you believe you have an STD.

Written by Mark Riegel, MD

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