How 'Genetic Fingerprinting' Can Be Used To Track The Spread of STDs

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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.

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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.

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