Kenya Medical Research Institute team, have discovered two new breeds of Sexually Transmitted Infections(STI’s) among Busia County women, a border county in Kenya.
The group of researchers were investigating the reason behind the increase of STI cases recorded in the hospitals in the region when they discovered new mutations in genes associated with chlamydia and gonorrhea.
The researchers used consecutive sampling and collected endocervical swabs from 424 Kenyans women aged 15 years and above with STI symptoms.
They discovered that all the women tested positive for gonorrhoeae and chlamydia.
The Research Assistant Principal, Prof Samson Muuo, at the Center for Microbiology Research at kEMRI , revealed that the two new mutations identified in MtrR and 23SrRNA genes were associated with macrolide resistance and were not from a common origin from the previously reported ones.
Prof. Samson further revealed that the mutations of gonorrhoeae and chlamydia the found were attacking as a pair, indicating that the STIs are widespread in the region. They noted that chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Mycoplasma genitalium are among the most commonly reports STIs among women.
The Mutations have proved to be a challenge, the mutation in the 23SrRNA gene, the drug binding site, cause resistance in C. trachomatis and .genitalium. In N. gonorrhoeae, mutations in the mtrR gene can lead to macrolide resistance.
A Kenyan epidemiologist, Ms. Shillah Simiyu explained that Busia presents High sexually transmitted disease numbers due to high sexual activities by virtue of being a border town.
Dr. George Njoroge , the founder of the Naivasha-based Centre of Africa’s life science, expressed a lot of concern over the new mutations, saying that nobody knows whether the usual medical would work and whether clinical trials would be necessary.
The discovery of the new mutations calls for Kenyans to be careful to prevent spread of the infections.
Kenyans have been advised to practice safe sex and seek medical attention if they experience any symptoms.
The study also calls for action from the government to invest more in research and health infrastructure to prevent the spread and provide appropriate treatment.
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