Sexually transmitted bacterial diseases (STDs) are a major public health concern, as these can have a serious impact on the health and wellbeing of affected individuals. If left undiagnosed and untreated, STDs can cause multiple complications and long-term health problems, ranging from adverse pregnancy outcomes to neonatal and infant infections, and cardiovascular and neurological damage.
This is particularly concerning as, worldwide, the WHO estimates that around 1 million new sexually transmitted infections are acquired every day. In England, gonorrhoea and syphilis diagnoses have risen by 277% and 199% since 2010, with a 49% increase in Chlamydia trachomatis diagnoses. The rising trend in STDs is compounded by an increasing prevalence of N. gonorrhoeae and Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum strains exhibiting antimicrobial resistance. This worrying trend has galvanised public health authorities worldwide into action leading to improved diagnostic services, increased public awareness of STDs and enhanced surveillance.
The aim of this forum was to gather researchers with an interest in STDs and collectively establish how the PubMLST infrastructure, a leading platform in providing molecular epidemiology tools, can support STD surveillance. This online meeting will focus on STDs caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis and Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum and will consist of a series of invited talks which will describe how PubMLST has been used for these organisms.
The event was held on Friday 11th June and featured:
- Dr Odile Harrison, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.
- Professor Deborah Dean, University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine.
- Anastasia Unitt, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.
- Dr Ana Cehovin, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford.
- Jolinda de Korne, GGD, Amsterdam.
- Dr Linda Grillová, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridgeshire, UK.