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Doctors concerned over sexually transmitted antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in gay men

Patrick Kelleher November 4, 2019
Doctors concerned over antibiotic resistant bacteria found in gay men

Doctors are concerned over new strains of a bacteria which are antibiotic resistant (Pexels)

Doctors have expressed concern over the rise of a sexually transmitted bacteria in gay men which they say is now becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Researchers studied the bacteria – which is called Campylobacter coli – in gay men in Seattle and Montréal and published the results in academic journal Clinical Infections Diseases.

The study has revealed that new strains of the bacteria have acquired a new gene that makes them resistant to antibiotics.

Researchers said that it is the first time such an antibiotic resistant gene was found in a clinical sample.

Queer men could be at increased risk of the infection due to anal sex and rimming.

The bacteria is thought to be more prevalent in gay men because it is an enteric bacteria, meaning it originates in the intestines. The bacteria may then be transmitted in sex practices between men such as anal sex and rimming.

Researchers believe that the bacteria is likely circulating in diverse geographic locations across the world.

Men who are infected with the bacteria may experience pain in their stomach and diarrhoea. While some strains of the infection are now becoming resistant to antibiotics, it normally passes by itself after a period of time.

The international spread of related isolates among MSM populations has been shown before for Shigella, so it makes sense to see it in Campylobacter as well.

The study’s lead author Dr Alex Greninger reminded gay men that enteric infections can be sexually-transmitted.

“The international spread of related isolates among MSM populations has been shown before for Shigella, so it makes sense to see it in Campylobacter as well,” he said.

The study notes: “The global emergence of multidrug-resistant enteric pathogens in MSM poses an urgent public health challenge that may require new approaches for surveillance and prevention.”

The bacteria is similar to Shigella which has had a number of outbreaks among gay and bisexual men in recent years.

Shigella is a similar infection and is thought to be caused in gay and bisexual men by rimming, according to the American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infection is contracted when faecal matter gets into the stomach and causes an infection in the intestines. The symptoms include diarrhoea, fever and abdominal pain and can last up to a week.

Outbreaks of Shigella have been reported in the US, Australia, Canada, Japan and Europe since 1999.

Last year, health officials in San Diego were forced to issue an advisory document to gay and bisexual men on how to avoid contracting Shigella.

More: bacteria, bisexual, Campylobacter coli, Gay, men who have sex with men, sexually transmitted disease, sexually transmitted infection, shigella

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