(WXYZ) — There has been a significant increase in the number of reported gonorrhea infections in across the state, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.
In 2019, Michigan reported 18,264 gonorrhea infections. This annual number has already been surpassed as of Oct. 31, pointing to a 22% increase in reported gonorrhea infections for 2020.
“A shortage of testing supplies during a significant statewide increase in cases presents an alarming potential for a host of negative health outcomes for Michiganders,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “Because laboratory testing is challenging at this time, it is imperative that medical providers continue to clinically diagnose and treat suspected cases of gonorrhea to slow the spread in our state.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance to provide recommendations on clinical STD service challenges, including guidance on presumptive diagnosis and treatment of STDs during the pandemic.
Critical to the current gonorrhea increase and supply shortage, and because of pressure on the public health system, CDC and MDHHS urge providers to evaluate and treat patients presenting with signs or symptoms of infection, regardless of laboratory confirmation.
Understanding risk, consistently and correctly using condoms, reducing the number of partners and abstaining from sex are all effective prevention strategies. Michiganders should consult a healthcare provider if they are sexually active and are experiencing pain when urinating, increased discharge, soreness or vaginal bleeding between periods, as these may be signs of gonorrhea or another sexually transmitted infection.