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

BOSTON — Massachusetts health officials announced Thursday the first two cases of a very “worrying” new strain of gonorrhea in the state.

A new strain of gonorrhea was discovered in a Bay State resident who showed a reduced response to multiple antibiotics, in addition to another case with genetic markers indicating a similar drug response, the Department of Health said.

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 cured with ceftriaxone, the antibiotic currently recommended to treat gonorrhea. To date, no direct link between the two individuals has been established.

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

This new form of gonorrhea has previously been seen in countries in Asia and the Pacific and in the United Kingdom, but not in America, according to public health commissioner Margret Cooke.

“The discovery of this form of gonorrhea is a serious public health concern that DPH, the CDC and other health departments have been vigilant about tracking down in the U.S.,” Cooke said in a press release. “We urge all sexually active people to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted diseases and to consider reducing the number of sexual partners and using more condoms during sex. Physicians are advised to review the clinical alert and assist in our expanded surveillance efforts.”

Field epidemiologists from the state’s Department of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Prevention are now conducting contact tracing to determine if other individuals have contracted this infection.

Gonorrhea is on the rise in Massachusetts and nationally, adding to concerns about the potential spread of this species, health officials noted. In Massachusetts, the number of lab-confirmed gonorrhea cases is up 312% from a low of 1,976 cases in 2009 to 8,133 in 2021.

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