400,000 Australians could have STI ‘Super-Bug’

It is believed that up to 400,000 Australians are currently affected by Mycoplasma genitalium (MG), but most people would not have heard of it before. With similar infection rates to chlamydia, MG has indicated high levels of medication resistance, hence its “superbug” status.

MG is a bacterium that infects the urethra, cervix and anus, and can cause anal or vaginal bleeding, painful urination, and if left untreated has a potential to cause miscarriage or infertility.

Up until recently, testing for MG was limited across the country, with only some GPs having access to the correct form of testing. A new test for MG being rolled out can screen patients for strains that may mean they’re resistant to general antibiotic STI treatment. In addition to the new test, there are calls for monitoring to be undertaken to determine the movement of the bacterium across the nation, as is currently the way with HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

The developer of this new test, SppeeDx, has facilities in place within Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, but will have more services available in the other parts of the country by mid-2018.

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