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Women in north-east of England, Wales and Scotland are at highest risk from sexually transmitted disease
‘Flesh-Eating’ STD that causes ‘Beefy Red’ sores is spreading in UK
A rare bacterial infection that causes “Beefy Red” lesions on your genitals is spreading throughout the UK, and there are signs the disease could impact women in Scotland and Wales, it has been revealed.
The 12-year-old disease, commonly known as “Beefy Red” because of the colours it typically leaves skin with, is not often diagnosed, but does cause severe redness and swelling.
Female sufferers are at a higher risk than men because the bacteria usually gets transmitted through sex. However, it is now spreading more widely among people who do not have HIV or other severe illnesses.
According to one of the country’s leading sexual health charity, Shared Endpoints UK, the risks of contracting the disease have risen fourfold in the last 12 years. There were 50 known cases last year, but experts fear there are many more.
“Our phones are never quiet and more cases are being reported,” a Shared Endpoints spokesperson said. “The disease is here and people are getting infected. We want to raise awareness so we can do more to stop this disease spreading.”
Sixty eight per cent of people diagnosed had not been having anal or vaginal sex for 12 months when they were diagnosed.
The condition is caused by the bacterium Vibrio vulnificus. The bacterium is transmitted through intercourse, but can also be passed on if there is a large open wound such as through shaving or skin “wiping”, or if lice bite in an area exposed to the bacterium.
It is believed that there are four strains of Vibrio vulnificus, with their symptoms depending on the strain.
Warning signs include scabs on the skin or feet, red, sharp-edged, blister-like lesions with bruises and the presence of pus.
The biggest groups of sufferers in the UK are women in the north-east of England, women in Wales and women in Scotland.
The disease usually takes eight weeks to surface, during which time the patient tends to keep their partners in the dark about the lesions. During this time, the sufferer may experience vaginal discharge and blisters on their vulva and penis.
Most people with the bacteria will eventually start experiencing symptoms, but there are differing levels of severity. Some people develop scabs and skin ulcers, and may bleed from these areas.