6 cases of rare gonorrhea strain reported in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is warning the public about six cases of the rare disseminated gonococcal infection. (MGN)
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LANSING (WJRT) (8/23/2019) - Public health officials are investigating an outbreak of six cases of a rare strain of gonorrhea in south central Michigan.

Disseminated gonococcal infection often requires hospitalization after a sexually transmitted case of gonorrhea. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said five people have the illness and a sixth is being confirmed.

Four confirmed cases are in Kalamazoo County while the fifth is in St. Joseph County. A sixth possible case remains under investigation in Calhoun County.

The patients range in age from 20 to 55.

Symptoms of disseminated gonococcal infection include fevers, chills and joint pain, stiffness and swelling. It can also cause infections in joints and internal organs.

Patients may or may not have the symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, so anyone experiencing these symptoms is urged to contact their health care provider.

“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 State epidemiologist Sarah Lyon-Callo.

Health officials say abstaining from sex, reducing the number of sex partners and using condoms are the best way to avoid disseminated gonococcal infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the number of sexually transmitted disease cases diagnosed increased in 2018.

Michigan reported 51,256 cases of chlamydia, 16,992 cases of gonorrhea, and 654 cases of primary and secondary syphilis.