Rise in gonorrhea cases

LANSING, Mich — A recent analysis of new reports on sexually transmitted diseases has detected a significant increase in the number of reported gonorrhea infections in the state, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

“In 2019, Michigan reported 18,264 gonorrhea infections,” a release from MDHHS reads. “This annual number has already been surpassed as of Oct. 31, pointing to a 22% increase in reported gonorrhea infections for 2020.”

MDHHS says this increase could be linked to a decrease in testing for STDs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A shortage of testing supplies during a significant statewide increase in cases presents an alarming potential for a host of negative health outcomes for Michiganders,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “Because laboratory testing is challenging at this time, it is imperative that medical providers continue to clinically diagnose and treat suspected cases of gonorrhea to slow the spread in our state.”

Due to the increase in cases and the decrease in supplies, MDHHS and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are urging providers to evaluate and treat patients presenting symptoms of infection, regardless of laboratory confirmation.

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