Health Officials Warn Of Rare Gonorrhea In Michigan

WWJ News
August 23, 2019 - 11:43 am
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(WWJ) Health officials are urging Michiganders to protect themselves as they investigate cases of a rare gonorrhea infection in the state.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and local health departments said Friday they are investigating six cases – five confirmed and one possible – of
Disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI), which often requires hospitalization.

WHAT IS IT?

DGI can occur following a sexually transmitted gonorrhea infection, according to health officials. 

Symptoms may include fevers, chills and joint pain, stiffness and swelling; as well as infections in joints and internal organs.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, you can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.

WHERE HAS IT BEEN FOUND?

Four of the confirmed cases are in Kalamazoo County and one is in St. Joseph County. One possible case is being reviewed in Calhoun County. Infected individuals range in age from 20 to 55.

HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOURSELF? 

Abstaining from sex, reducing the number of partners and consistent and correct use of condoms are all effective prevention strategies to prevent DGI and other sexually transmitted diseases. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results can greatly reduce your risk.

“We are urging Michigan residents to protect themselves from this rare but serious infection and other sexually transmitted diseases through safe sex practices, including using condoms,” said Sarah Lyon-Callo, MDHHS state epidemiologist.

Patients may or may not have the symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, so anyone experiencing the symptoms listed above is urged to contact their healthcare provider.

Meanwhile, doctors with patients experiencing these symptoms are being asked to immediately report cases to their local health departments.

The MDHHS says cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis all increased in 2018; Michigan reported 51,256 cases of chlamydia; 16,992 cases of gonorrhea; and 654 cases of primary and secondary syphilis. In Kalamazoo County, gonorrhea has increased by 20 percent over the last year, from 854 cases to 1,027.

Learn more about gonorrhea from CDC at this link