The State Is Examining 6 Cases of Uncommon Gonorrhea Strain in Michigan

The Department of Health in Michigan is examining six cases of an uncommon gonorrhea infection that can send people to the hospital

Five of them have been confirmed; only one is probable. One of the confirmed cases is located in St. Joseph County, four are at the Kalamazoo County. The probable cause is registered in Calhoun County. 

All the affected individuals are between the ages of 20 and 55

Officials have announced the uncommon disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI) is triggered by the exact same bacteria as gonorrhea. Experts are advising residents to take the right preventive measures or abstain from intercourse to avoid transmission. 

In 2019, gonorrhea cases grew by 20%, only in Kalamazoo County from 854 to 1,027. 

Is This Rare DGI Dangerous?

DGI starts like any other sexually transmitted infection. At first, the infection is usually asymptomatic, but the longer it is left to manifest in the body, the more damaging it can be. 

According to Lynn Sutfin from MDHHS (Michigan Department of Health & Human Services), the infection could become life-threatening. 

There are two main reasons why the infection has spread. The primary one is the patient’s weak immune system, and the second option is the virulence of the infection. 

Individuals who are prone to developing the infection are people with HIV, lupus, those who frequently change their sexual partners, or have immune deficiencies.

How to Recognize DGI?

The signs of DGI can easily be confused with any other health complication, but in general, they include:

  • Pain in the joints
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Chills

Not only can the infection affect the joints, but it can also spread to the organs, advises Stufin. 

Since it usually varies from person to person, some patients may not develop these symptoms. But, if anyone experiences typical gonorrhea symptoms, it’s best to consult with a health care provider. Some of the most prevalent ones in men are:

  • Swollen, painful, or uncomfortable testicles
  • Painful urination
  • Green, yellow or white penile discharge

Gonorrhea in women is usually asymptomatic. But, some may experience mild signs that can be confused with a regular vaginal/bladder infection. Some of the most prevalent ones in women are:

  • Bleeding when not on period
  • Frequent vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination

If the rectum is infected, both women and men can experience the following signs in the rectal area:

  • Bleeding
  • Itchiness
  • Discharge
  • Painful bowel movements

Even though this is a rare infection, residents at Michigan should take the right precautions and practice safe sex, suggests Sarah L. Callo, an epidemiologist at MDHHS. 

Can DGI Be Treated?

According to the National Institutes of Health, a rare infection can be treated. However, to avoid any serious health complications or risk of death, it’s crucial to seek treatment in a timely manner. 

The treatment usually lasts one week, and patients may receive an adequate dose of IV ceftriaxone. If the patient needs further treatment, the medication use could be extended.