The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and local health departments are investigating six cases – five confirmed and one possible – of a rare gonorrhea infection that often requires hospitalization.
Disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI) can occur following a sexually transmitted gonorrhea infection. Symptoms may 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 healthcare provider.
Healthcare providers with patients experiencing these symptoms are asked to immediately report cases to their local health departments.
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.
“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.
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.
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.