BOSTON — Massachusetts health officials on Thursday announced the state’s first two cases of a very “concerning” new strain of gonorrhea.
A new strain of gonorrhea has been detected in a Bay State resident who showed a reduced response to multiple antibiotics, in addition to another case with genetic markers that indicate a similar drug response, according to the Department of Health. Public health.
This is the first time that resistance or reduced response to five classes of antibiotics has been identified in gonorrhea in the United States, health officials noted.
Both cases were successfully cured with ceftriaxone, the antibiotic currently recommended to treat gonorrhea. To date, no direct link between the two individuals has been identified.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. It can present without symptoms and, if left untreated, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and other health problems.
This new strain of gonorrhea has already been seen in Asia-Pacific countries and the UK, but not in America, according to Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke.
“The discovery of this strain of gonorrhea is a serious public health concern that DPH, CDC and other health departments have been working to detect in the United States,” Cooke said in a press release. “We urge all sexually active people to be tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections and to consider reducing the number of their sexual partners and increasing their use of condoms during sex. Clinicians are encouraged to review the Clinical Alert and participate in our expanded monitoring efforts.
Field epidemiologists with the state’s Division of Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases are currently conducting contact tracing to determine if other people have contracted this infection.
Gonorrhea has increased in Massachusetts and nationally, adding to concerns about the potential spread of this strain, health officials noted. In Massachusetts, lab-confirmed gonorrhea cases have increased 312% from a low of 1,976 cases in 2009 to 8,133 in 2021.
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