LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments are investigating six cases of a rare gonorrhea infection that can put people in the hospital.

Five of the cases are confirmed and one is possible. Four of the cases are are in Kalamazoo County and one is in St. Joseph County. The possible case is being reviewed in Calhoun County.

MDHHS said infected individuals range in age from 20 to 55. 

The infection, known as disseminated gonococcal infection, can occur after a sexually transmitted gonorrhea infection. Symptoms may include fevers, chills and joint pain, stiffness and swelling, but it can also cause infections in joints and internal organs. 

“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.

MDHHS said that abstaining from sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and consistent use of condoms are effective prevention strategies.

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 increased 20 percent over the last year from 854 cases to 1,027. 

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