September 25, 2008

New Strain of Sexually Transmitted Disease is Discovered in Scotland


A NEW strain has been discovered in Scotland of a sexually transmitted infection which affects thousands of people in Britain every year .

Health Protection Scotland has highlighted the case of the new variant Chlamydia trachomatis (nvCT) strain, identified in a patient attending a sexual health service in Scotland last month.

The Scottish Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infection Reference Laboratory has alerted all consultant microbiologists in Scotland about the outbreak, said HPS in a report.

The strain was first seen in Sweden in 2006 and a Europe-wide investigation last year found it had spread only to a handful of people.

Although symptoms of Chlamydia normally occur one to three weeks after infection, many people are unaware that they have it.

As many as 75per cent of women and 50per cent of men with Chlamydia do not show symptoms of the disease.

Undiagnosed and untreated Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which experts say can cause ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and even death in extreme cases.

Men are less likely to develop serious complications, although undiagnosed and untreated Chlamydia can cause infertility.

The nvCT strain was first reported in Halland county, south-west Sweden, in the late summer of 2006 when an unexpected 25per cent fall in Chlamydia trachomatis infections was observed in a 10-month period between 2005 and 2006.

There has been concern that normal tests have failed to detect the new strain and resulted in an outbreak of undiagnosed, untreated Chlamydia in parts of Sweden.

Laboratories in England and Wales are expected to be notified about the Scottish outbreak by the HPS's Sexually Transmitted Bacterial Reference Laboratory and via their Health Protection Report by the end of this week.

HPS said it had established that several laboratories - representing approximately 74per cent of testing in Scotland - are using methods that detect the normal Chlamydia strain and the variant. The rest are reviewing their protocols.

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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