Rare sex disease could become next superbug, doctors warn

A little-known sexually transmitted infection could become an untreatable superbug because doctors are mistaking it for chlamydia, experts have warned.

The Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG) bacterium now only affects 1-2 percent of the public, but BASHH warned in a new set of guidelines it could become a superbug in 15 years' time if proper testing and treatment fails to be provided by local health services.

Research by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) found that over 70 percent of sexual health experts said that if current practices do not change, MG will become resistant to first and second line antibiotics within a decade.

It can also be treated by an antibiotic called macrolides, but the guidelines warned that MG is becoming increasingly resistant to it. It's is passed on by sexual contact but, like all STDs, can easily be prevented by using a condom. The greatest effect is for women with pelvic inflammatory disease caused by MG, which would be very hard to treat, putting them at increased risk of infertility'.

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.

You can get it by having unprotected sex with someone who has it. Condoms can prevent this spread.

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However - here's the problem - doctors are finding that these antibiotics are failing to treat the illness more and more due to rising antibiotic resistance. In Europe, that number dips slightly to 1% to 2% of the population, the guidelines state.

MG is on the rise globally.

Dr Peter Greenhouse, a sexual consultant in Bristol and BASHH member, urged people to take precautions.

BASHH recommends that MG is treated with a seven-day course of the antibiotic, doxycycline, followed by a course of azithromycin.

"It's yet another good reason to pack the condoms for the summer holidays - and actually use them".

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