Earlier this week, Massachusetts health officials learned of two new strains of gonorrhea that seemed to have become resistant to a wide range of antibiotics.
Ceftriaxone injections, the primary medication presently used to treat cases of the sexually transmitted infection, helped both patients recover.
The type that infected them, however, is the first of its kind to be confirmed in the United States. State health authorities warn it has at least some resistance to practically every antibiotic used to treat the infection.
Currently, Investigators and the CDC are working to evaluate more samples taken from gonorrhea cases in the state. Additionally, contact tracing is being done in Massachusetts to determine if the drug-resistant strain has spread to other people.
“The discovery of this strain of gonorrhea is a serious public health concern which DPH, the CDC, and other health departments have been vigilant about detecting,” said Margret Cooke, head of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
The CDC reports that, after chlamydia, gonorrhea is the sexually transmitted infection that is most frequently reported to health authorities in the United States.
Many people who contract the infection frequently show little to no symptoms. However, some people may experience bleeding, discharge, and more severe issues that might cause infertility and discomfort.
A patient who visited a primary care clinic with urethritis symptoms—an inflammation that can make it difficult to urinate—was found to be the first case. A “concerning” pattern was identified in the samples by the state’s health laboratory, later confirmed by follow-up testing by the CDC.
The two cases had no apparent relation to one another. One had no recent travel history, indicating that the stress might spread within the state.
“We urge all sexually active people to be regularly tested for sexually transmitted infections and to consider reducing the number of their sexual partners and increasing their use of condoms when having sex,” Cooke said.