How 'Genetic Fingerprinting' Can Be Used To Track The Spread of STDs
Spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
New research shows it could be possible to follow the spread of bacterial sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) through the population by tracking the individuals in a city infected with the same strain of the bacterium. This could help provide better information to public health workers, allowing them to develop more effective public health campaigns.
The research published in The Lancet shows how the team used molecular typing or genetic fingerprinting to identify the gonorrhoea strains infecting individuals in London. They found the typing identified a number of common strains which appear to identify individuals in the major sexual networks in London.
Professor Brian Spratt, from Imperial College London, and senior author of the paper said: "Gonorrhoea is a good indicator of unsafe sex but most infections don't spread much and most strains in London are only found in one or a few individuals.