Over the past few months, announcements were made about an increase in the rate of STD infections in several parts of the world. The number of new syphilis cases went up. While the number of new HIV deaths decreased, the rate of infections increased. Now, it’s become clear that problems with gonorrhoea have also become more prominent.
A Rare, Challenging Infection
In mid-August 2019, reports surfaced about infections in the US with a new, more serious form of gonorrhoea.
The complicated infection has caused the investigation of six cases. In five of those, researchers confirmed disseminated gonococcal infection or DGI.
DGI is caused by the same bacterium that causes gonorrhoea. The bacterium spreads through unprotected sexual contact. While gonorrhoea can go asymptomatic for prolonged periods of time, DGI leads to various issues.
Medical authorities warn that DGI typically requires hospitalisation and it can be deadly. Some of the most common symptoms include fever, chills, stiffness, swelling and joint pain.
The process begins with a typical gonorrhoea infection that can spread. A gonorrhoea infection will spread in two ways – due to the immune system’s inability to deal with the infection and because of virulence.
The term virulence refers to the “potency” of the bacterium and its ability to cause damage.
DGI Is No Joke, Protection’s Needed
While the higher than usual incidence of DGI has been limited to Michigan in the US, it’s important for all sexually-active individuals to be cautious and responsible.
Certain individuals are more predisposed to DGI development than other in the event of contracting gonorrhoea. These individuals include HIV-positive people, intravenous drug users, those who have immune system deficiency or lupus. There’s also some evidence that women are more predisposed to DGI development than men.
When left untreated, DGI can cause infections in the joints and in internal organs.
The trickiest thing about DGI is that it can manifest itself without a person experiencing any STD symptoms beforehand. Safe sex and regular STD testing are the only ways to make sure that one is gonorrhoea-free and not at risk of DGI development.
DGI is a treatable condition. Since it is caused by a bacterium, the administration of antibiotics will lead to rapid improvements and complete restoration of health. The longer one waits, however, the bigger the risk of complications become.
Not the First Time Super Gonorrhoea Has Plagued the World
The latest reports from Michigan aren’t portraying some unusual occurrence. There have been multiple previous instances of gonorrhoea bacterium adaptation and change.
In the end of 2017, a rare strain of the gonorrhoea bacterium was identified in Canada.
The problem with that bacterium was serious because it happened to be resistant to common antibiotics used for the treatment of the STI. There are two antibiotics used for gonorrhoea treatment – azithromycin and ceftriaxone. The Canadian bacterial strain happened to be resistant to the later.
Quebec researchers announced at the time that gonorrhoea was evolving and becoming resistant to common treatment options. They expressed worries about super gonorrhoea becoming more common and leading to serious issues in the future.
Super gonorrhoea infections were announced in 2018 in Ibiza. Two women who had unprotected sex while on vacation became infected with the bacterial strain that demonstrated exceptional resistance to antibiotics treatment. It couldn’t be cured through the administration of neither azithromycin nor ceftriaxone.
Eventually, doctors pinpointed a treatment approach that gave good results but they once again highlighted the exceptional resilience of the evolved super bacterium.
Gonorrhoea can be treated easily in its early stages. If you wait a long time, however, you increase the risk of experiencing complications.
Some of the most common gonorrhoea complications include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, infertility, epididymitis in men, a higher risk of HIV infection and serious issues during pregnancy.
We offer several types of tests and you can inquire about the different options and their accuracy when you pay us a visit. We recommend regular screening for gonorrhoea and other common infections like HIV and syphilis if you are sexually active.
Contact us today to learn more about gonorrhoea testing/treatment or visit Shim Clinic every day during our work hours.