A little known sexually transmitted infection could become the next superbug unless people become more vigilant, experts are warning.
Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) often has no symptoms but can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can leave some women infertile. MG can be missed – and if it is not treated correctly, it can develop resistance to antibiotics.
The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV drafted guidelines and detailed how best to spot and treat MG.
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.
You can get it by having unprotected sex with someone who has it. Condoms can prevent this spread.
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.
Tests for MG have recently been developed but are not available in all clinics yet although doctors can send samples to Public Health England’s laboratory to get a diagnostic result.
It can be treated with antibiotics – but the infection is developing resistance to some of these drugs.