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Rare gonorrhea infections circulating in Michigan

Posted: 11:27 AM, Aug 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-23 16:38:44-04
Health officials warn of 'smarter,' untreatable gonorrhea 'superbug'

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — State and local health departments are investigating six cases of a rare gonorrhea infection that often requires hospitalization.

Officials say of the six cases, five are confirmed and one is possible.

It's called Disseminated gonococcal infection, or DGI, and it can occur following a sexually transmitted gonorrhea infection.

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, the state department says.

Symptoms may include: fevers, chills and joint pain, stiffness and swelling. It can also cause infections in joints and internal organs.

“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 these symptoms is urged to contact their healthcare provider, according to the state health department.

How to prevent the infection?

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.

Fast Facts from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services:

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.