The smallest known self-replicating bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium (MG or Mgen), was isolated (identified and grown) in 1981 . It can be caught from sexual intimacy with someone already infected. Though scientists have known about the bacterium for decades, it has only recently been identified as the likely cause of many health problems which doctors, up to now, have not been able to link to a specific organism. MG causes inflammation of the parts of the body involved in having children. More specifically it may cause non-specific urethritis in men (pain on passing urine for which no cause has been found) and pelvic inflammatory disease in women (pain in the lower abdomen, which is also very tender if touched). Because of this those who are infected may not be able to have children when they want to.
It is always good to find out what causes a health problem, because then we can look for a treatment that will deal with the cause. Since isolating MG scientists have learned that powerful and expensive antibiotics are needed in order to get rid of it. Worryingly the organism is already showing resistance to some of these antibiotics. For this reason, in some cases there has been no effective treatment available to get rid of this infection.
This reminds us that following God’s ways will not spoil our fun, as some people seem to think, but will actually protect us from getting involved with behaviours that may pose a serious risk to our health and lead on to sadness and regret. God always wants what is best for His people.
- ‘The next sexually transmitted superbug?‘ 2018, The BMJ, 10 November, p222