by Tutu Akinlabi
A sexually transmitted bug, apart from causing the initial problems, might also lead to cancer, according to research.
The disease transmitting organism, said to have become epidemic in the United Kingdom could cause cervical cancer.
The organism, Chlamydia trachomatis, is made even all the more dangerous because it shows almost no symptoms.
Daily Mail reports:
The most serious threat from Chlamydia is that it can make women sterile. However, new findings reported by Finnish scientists suggest that it may also play a big role in triggering cervical cancer.
One specific Chlamydia strain, known as serotype G, is associated with a 6.6-fold increase in cancer risk, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Women infected with two other strains had their chances of contracting cervical cancer increased by 3.8 and 2.7 times. Exposure to more than one strain raised the overall risk level, said the researchers.
It has long been known that cervical cancer is linked to sexually transmitted infection.
The primary agent involved is thought to be the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes genital warts. But scientists have suspected that Chlamydia may also have a part to play.
The new findings appear to confirm that a strong link exists between past Chlamydia infection and cervical cancer.
Britain, in common with other western countries, is undergoing a Chlamydia epidemic. According to the Public Health Laboratory Service, the number of diagnosed infections has soared by 76 per cent since 1995.
There was a 14 per cent increase in infections between 1998 and 1999.
Infection rates in 1999 were highest in London, where they reached 155 per 100,000 men and 184 per 100,000 women. But doctors believe the number of known infections represent only about 10 per cent of all cases.
For women, the long-term effects of Chlamydia infection can be severe, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.