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

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

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BOSTON — Massachusetts health officials announced Thursday the state’s first two cases of a highly “disturbing” new strain of gonorrhea.

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 that showed a similar response to the drug, according to the Department of Public Health.

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 treated with ceftriaxone, the antibiotic currently recommended for the treatment of gonorrhea. To date, no direct connection has been established between the two individuals.

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

This new strain of gonorrhea has previously been seen in Asia-Pacific countries and the United Kingdom, but not in America, according to Public Health Commissioner Margret Cook.

“The discovery of this strain of gonorrhea is a serious public health concern that DPH, CDC and other health departments have been vigilant about discovering in the U.S.,” Cook said in a news release. “We urge all sexually active people to get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections and to consider reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing the use of condoms during sex. Clinicians are advised to review the clinical alert and assist with our expanded surveillance efforts.

Field epidemiologists at the state Division of STD Prevention are now conducting contact tracing to determine whether other individuals have acquired the infection.

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

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