Massachusetts health officials announce first cases of ‘worrisome’ new strain of gonorrhea – Boston 25 News

Massachusetts health officials announce first cases of ‘worrisome’ new strain of gonorrhea – Boston 25 News

BOSTON – Massachusetts health officials on Thursday announced the first two cases of a very “worrisome” new strain of gonorrhea.

A new strain of gonorrhea has been discovered in a Bay State resident that showed a reduced response to multiple antibiotics, with another case showing genetic markers indicating a similar response to the drug, according to the Department of Public Health.

This is the first time 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 treated with ceftriaxone, the antibiotic currently recommended for the treatment of gonorrhea. To date, no direct connection between these two people has been established.

Gonorrhea is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection. It can occur without symptoms, and if left untreated, can result in pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and other health problems.

This new strain of gonorrhea has already been seen in Asia-Pacific countries and the United Kingdom, 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 vigilantly monitoring,” Cooke said in a press release. “We appeal to all sexually active people to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections and to think about reducing the number of their sexual partners and increasing the use of condoms during sexual intercourse. Clinicians are advised to review the clinical alert and assist in our expanded surveillance efforts.”

Field epidemiologists at the state’s Division of Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention are now conducting contact tracing to determine whether other people have contracted the infection.

Gonorrhea is on the rise in Massachusetts and nationally, raising concerns about the possible spread of the strain, health officials noted. In Massachusetts, laboratory-confirmed cases of gonorrhea increased 312% from a low point of 1,976 cases in 2009 to 8,133 in 2021.

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