The world has failed to combat sexually transmitted bacterial infections in the past few years, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday in a study that estimates one million new cases every day.
The annual total of 376 million infections with chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis and syphilis is based on data from 2016.
It is about five per cent higher than the UN health agency’s previous global estimate from 2012.
“We consider this a hidden epidemic, a silent epidemic, a dangerous epidemic that is persistent globally,’’ WHO epidemiologist Melanie Taylor told a news conference in Geneva.
These four diseases can be cured, but if they are left untreated, patients can develop neurological and cardiovascular problems as well as infertility.
In addition, pregnant women who get infected are at risk of stillbirth.
“Since most people do not develop symptoms, infections often go unnoticed, allowing them to spread further,’’ Taylor said.
The WHO recommended the use of condoms, sex education, and improved disease screening in developing countries as ways to fight these four diseases.
The report did not cover the sexually transmitted viruses HIV, hepatitis B, herpes and human papillomavirus.