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Michigan reports 22% increase in gonorrhea infections this year

The state already surpassed last year’s total of 18,200+ cases on Oct. 31
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 1:32 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Gonorrhea infections are on the rise in Michigan, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Michigan reported more than 18,200 gonorrhea infections in 2019. That number already had been surpassed by Oct. 31, 2020, with two months left in the year, which represents a 22% increase from year to year.

State health officials believe the number of confirmed gonorrhea infections is lower than the actual infections of the sexually transmitted disease. STD testing overall is down during the coronavirus pandemic due to a national shortage of test kits and lab supplies.

“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. “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.”

Following advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging health professionals to treat patients presenting with gonorrhea symptoms as if they have the sexually transmitted illness regardless of whether they test positive.

State health officials also are expanding the use of an approved therapy for probable gonorrhea patients. They recommend people use condoms properly and reduce the number of sexual partners to prevent the illness from spreading.

People experiencing pain while urinating, increased discharge, soreness and vaginal bleeding between periods should contact their doctor. All of those could be symptoms of gonorrhea or another sexually transmitted disease.

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