Local and state health officials are investing a rare strain of gonorrhea that requires hospitalization. Five cases have been confirmed and another is still being examined. Four of those confirmed cases are in Kalamazoo County.  Another case has been confirmed in St. Joseph Country. A possible infection in Calhoun County is still awaiting confirmation. The ages of those confirmed cases range from 20 to 55.

Disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI) can occur following a sexually transmitted gonorrhea infection. Symptoms may include fevers, chills and joint pain, stiffness and swelling. It can also cause infections in joints and internal organs. Patients may or may not have the symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease, so anyone experiencing these symptoms is urged to contact their healthcare provider. - Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services.

MDHHS says if you're experiencing these symptoms, whether related to this infection or not, to see a doctor.

“We are urging Michigan residents to protect themselves from this rare but serious infection and other sexually transmitted diseases through safe sex practices, including using condoms,” said Sarah Lyon-Callo, MDHHS state epidemiologist. Abstaining from sex, reducing the number of partners and consistent and correct use of condoms are all effective prevention strategies to prevent DGI and other sexually transmitted diseases. - MDHHS

Confirmed cases of sexually transmitted diseases are all rising. MDHHS says,
"cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis all increased in 2018; Michigan reported 51,256 cases of chlamydia; 16,992 cases of gonorrhea; and 654 cases of primary and secondary syphilis. In Kalamazoo County, gonorrhea has increased by 20 percent over the last year, from 854 cases to 1,027."