Four emerging STDs that you can’t afford to ignore

Four emerging STDs that you can't afford to ignore

Editor’s Note: New diseases emerge all the time, and sexually transmitted infections, also known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are no exception. Here are four bacteria that could become serious public health threats. (Warning: contains a description of animal auto-fellatio.)

1. Neisseria meningitidis

N. meningitidis can cause invasive meningitis, a potentially deadly infection of the brain and spinal cord’s protective membranes.

More commonly, it’s gaining a reputation as a cause of urogenital infections.

Roughly 5 to 10 percent of adults likewise carry N. meningitidis in the back of the nose and throat.

Studies suggest they can potentially transmit the bacteria to partners through oral sex, deep kissing or other kinds of close contact that transmit infected droplets.

However, one study of urethritis caused by N. meningitidis in a separate group of men (all but one of whom were heterosexual) suggested that they contracted it from receiving oral sex.

2. Mycoplasma genitalium

M. genitalium, one of the smallest bacteria known, is gaining an outsized reputation as a worrisome STI.

Identified in the 1980s, the bacterium today infects an estimated 1 to 2 percent of people and is especially common in adolescents and young adults.

M. genitalium infection, though often symptom-free, can mimic chlamydia or gonorrhea with persistent irritation of the urethra and cervix.

Because it may trigger pelvic inflammatory disease in the female reproductive system, it has been associated with infertility, miscarriage, premature birth and even stillbirth.

3. Shigella flexneri

Shigellosis (or Shigella dysentery) is passed on by direct or indirect contact with human faeces.

The infection causes severe stomach cramps and explosive bouts of blood- and mucus-filled diarrhea, which helps perpetuate transmission of the bacteria.

4. Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)

This STI, caused by unusual strains of Chlamydia trachomatis, can cause an “awful infection”, according to Christopher Schiessl, a doctor at the One Medical clinic in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.

LGV may first produce a temporary genital pimple, blister or ulcer, and then invade the body’s lymphatic system.

Rectal infection can mimic inflammatory bowel disease and lead to chronic and severe colon and rectal abnormalities such as fistulas and strictures.

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