Bermuda: ‘Marked increase’ in gonorrhoea cases

By Sarah Lagan
There has been a “marked increase” in cases of the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea in Bermuda according to the Department of Health.

The increase began in June and appears to be growing, the department said, with those affected ranging from 20 to 50 and half of the cases in those aged 26 and under.

About two-thirds of the cases reported to the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit affected females and throughout June and July there have been 20 cases reported.

This is well above the two to nine cases reported each year during June and July from 2012 to 2016.

Gonorrhoea can infect both men and women and causes infections in the genitals, the anus and the throat.

You can get gonorrhoea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhoea while a pregnant woman with gonorrhoea can pass the infection to her baby during childbirth. Untreated gonorrhoea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon, the department advised: “If you notice any symptoms of gonorrhoea, or if your partner has an STI or symptoms, both of you should be examined by your doctor. Alternatively, you can visit the Communicable Disease Control Clinic, Department of Health, 67 Victoria Street for free, confidential testing. It is also important to inform all your sexual partners if an infection is confirmed, and encourage them to seek medical advice.”

Some men and women with gonorrhoea may have no symptoms at all but symptoms, if experienced, may include: A painful/burning sensation when urinating; in men — a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis/painful or swollen testicles; in women — increased vaginal discharge/vaginal bleeding between periods.

Anal infections may include: discharge; anal itching; soreness; bleeding; painful bowel movements.

The only way to completely avoid gonorrhoea (or other STIs) is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

The department advised that to lower your chances of getting a sexually transmitted infection: Be in a long-term relationship with one sexual partner, who only has you as a sexual partner, and has been tested and has negative STI test results; and use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

The statement continued: “Gonorrhoea can be cured with the right treatment. If diagnosed with an STI you must return to your doctor for treatment and notify your sexual partners so that they can be diagnosed and/or treated as well.

“It is vitally important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection.

“It is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhoea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhoea are increasing. There is evidence that a strain of gonorrhoea seen locally may be resistant to treatment by one of the most common antibiotics. If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a healthcare provider to be checked again.

“If you have been diagnosed and treated for gonorrhoea, to avoid getting reinfected or spreading gonorrhoea to your partner(s), you and your sex partner(s) should avoid having sex until you have each completed treatment. Reinfection is possible.”

For more information, call or visit your physician or the Communicable Disease Control Clinic, Department of Health, 67 Victoria Street, Hamilton or call 278-6442 with any questions or concerns. (The Royal Gazette)

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