California sees increase in untreated gonorrhea cases


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – The California Department of Public Health announced Friday it has received reports of an increase in rare, severe complications from untreated gonorrhea.

According to health officials, a severe form of gonorrhea called Disseminated Gonococcal Infections – which is an uncommon, but significant complication of untreated gonorrhea – is on the rise.

They said this is likely due to people not seeking care or getting routine testing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials are reminding the following groups of people to seek STD screening:

  • If you are a sexually active woman ages 25 and under
  • If you are pregnant
  • If you are man who has sex with men
  • If you are living with HIV

Disseminated Gonorrhea Infections occur when the sexually transmitted pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae spreads beyond the site of infection and invades the bloodstream traveling to distant sites in the body.

This can lead to joint pain and swelling from infected joints; small, painless red-based skin lesions that have clear fluid or pus in them; infection in the blood; or, on rare occasions, infections of the heart valves or fluid around the brain.

Most of the cases in California have presented with joint pain and infected joints.

Anyone showing symptoms should immediately reach out to their health care provider.

For more information on STDs in California, visit

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