Symptoms to watch for and take action after a massive gonorrhea outbreak

Cases of gonorrhea have returned to England since the easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in 2021.

Preliminary data published today indicates that gonorrhea diagnoses from January to September 2022 were 21% higher than those reported for the same period in 2019. Data also indicates that during the first nine months of 2022, gonorrhea cases exceeded that reported over the same period in each of the past three years.

UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reminds people to wear a condom and get tested regularly if they have sex with new or casual partners.

The data shows that the total number of gonorrhea diagnoses from January to September 2022 (56,327) was 21% higher compared to the same period in 2019 (46,541), the year in which the highest number of diagnoses were reported.

Young people aged 15 to 24 remain the most susceptible to being diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STDs) due to more frequent changes in sexual partners. While STDs are usually easily treated with antibiotics, some STIs, including gonorrhea, can have serious consequences as they can cause serious health problems such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Typical symptoms of gonorrhea are a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, painful urination, pain and discomfort in the rectum and, in women, lower abdominal pain and bleeding between periods.

People infected with gonorrhea often have no symptoms, especially for infections in the throat, vagina, or rectum. This lack of symptoms makes it important to test regularly when having sex with new or casual partners.

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