Health officials in Massachusetts say they have discovered a strain of gonorrhea in two people who have shown a decreased response to multiple antibiotics.
This was announced by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Thursday.
Officials said this is the first time a strain of gonorrhea has been discovered in the United States that shows resistance or a reduced response to antibiotics.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that is bacterial and can present with little to no symptoms. According to the health agency, if left untreated, it “can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and other health problems.”
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The particular strain of gonorrhea, discovered by the State Public Health Laboratory of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has been observed in Asia Pacific countries and the United Kingdom.
A gonorrhea strain with a similar genetic marker in Nevada as the two individuals in Massachusetts was previously discovered, but “retained susceptibility to at least one class of antibiotics.”
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The state health agency says “these cases are an important reminder that strains of gonorrhea in the US are becoming less and less responsive to a limited arsenal of antibiotics.”
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“The discovery of this strain of gonorrhea is a serious public health concern that is being followed closely by the DPH, the CDC and other public health agencies in the United States,” said Margaret Cooke, Massachusetts Health Commissioner. “We urge all sexually active people to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections and to consider reducing the number of their sexual partners and increasing their use of condoms during sex. Physicians are encouraged to review the clinical alert and support our expanded surveillance efforts.”