MDHHS warns of gonorrhea surge amid testing supply shortage


A microscopic view of the bacteria that cause gonorrhea. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — State health officials already trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 say another disease is also surging in Michigan: gonorrhea.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says on Halloween, this year’s number of reported gonorrhea infections surpassed last year’s total of 18,264 cases of the sexually transmitted disease. If this rate continues, Michigan is on track to see a 22% increase in gonorrhea cases this year.

State health officials say number of people infected with gonorrhea are likely even higher because of decreased STD testing during the pandemic. Additionally, the MDHHS says a national shortage in testing supplies makes broader testing a challenge.

The state health department is calling on medical providers to diagnose and treat patients at their clinics to help slow the spread, even without a positive lab test.

Symptoms of gonorrhea include pain while urinating and increased discharge, soreness or vaginal bleeding between periods. Health officials say the best way to prevent gonorrhea is to properly and consistently use a condom, limit sexual partners or abstain from sex.

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