CALIFORNIA — The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said on Friday, November 20 that the state is seeing a rise in cases of a severe form of gonorrhea.

In a news release, the department said that disseminated gonococcal infections (DGI), a severe form of gonorrhea, has gone mostly untreated.  This severe type of gonorrhea takes place when “the sexually transmitted pathogen Neisseria gonerhoeae spreads beyond the site of infection and invades the bloodstream traveling to distant sites in the body.”

The news comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed a quarter of a million Americans. As of November 20, cases in California reached 1,087,714 and more than 18,000 dead, according to the department.

The CDC reported in October 2019 that STDs were on the rise in America, with “combined cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia” reaching new highs in 2018.

Cases of STDs are the highest its been for the state of California in three decades.  In a 2018 report by the CDPH, there were more than 79,000 cases of gonorrhea, which is 211 percent more than in 2008.

Gonorrhea is defined, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC), as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that “causes infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat.”  Men and women can get it, especially ages 15-24.

People can get gonorrhea by “having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea.”  A pregnant woman can give the disease to her baby when giving birth.

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