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This woman’s hand told doctors she had gonorrhoea

How gonorrhoea can spread to your HANDS: Doctors release picture of tiny blisters on 20-year-old woman’s fingers and wrist which led them to diagnose the STI

  • The woman in Dallas, Texas, had blisters on her hands, ankles, scalp and torso 
  • She was diagnosed with a disseminated gonorrhoea infection which had spread
  • After three months the woman had fully recovered and had no relapses 

If somebody told you they had gonorrhoea your first instinct would probably not be to look at their hands.

But that was exactly where the infection made itself known on one 20-year-old woman in Dallas, Texas.

She went to A&E after finding blisters on her hands, ankles, arms, legs, torso and scalp and was diagnosed with the STI.

A 20-year-old woman from Dallas, Texas, went to hospital with blisters on her hand (pictured), ankles and scalp – doctors discovered she had gonorrhoea

The woman had been suffering from muscle aches, fever and ankle pain, and told doctors she had had sex without a condom with a new partner two weeks earlier.

An examination found blisters on the unidentified woman’s wrist and fingers and led doctors to suspect she had gonorrhoea.

In another unusual symptom, she also had swollen, painful ankles, according to staff at the University of Texas’s Southwestern Medical Center.

Almost certain she was infected with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria, medics prescribed her with antibiotics. Laboratory tests later confirmed the diagnosis.

Dr Melissa Mauskar, who wrote a case report in the New England Journal of Medicine, said: ‘At three months of follow-up, the patient was feeling well, with no recurrence of skin lesions or joint pain.’

Gonorrhoea is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world, particularly among 15 to 24-year-olds.


Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection and most people will only get symptoms on their genitals, such as a burning sensation while urinating.

However, it is possible for the infection to take hold elsewhere in the body and cause more general symptoms – this is called a disseminated gonorrhoea infection (DGI).

Around 25 per cent of people with a DGI present to medics with a skin rash – which can include pus-filled pustules or blisters – as their main symptom. And experts say the majority of DGI patients have some form of rash.

Other symptoms of DGI can include arthritis-like swelling and pain the joints, most commonly the knee.

Fever, headaches and muscle and neck pain may all also be a sign of DGI.

The condition can still be treated with antibiotics but may get worse if left without medical help.

Source: MedScape 

Around 78million people worldwide are diagnosed with gonorrhoea each year, according to the World Health Organization.

More than 44,500 people in the UK caught the infection in 2017, along with 555,000 people in the US.

Although gonorrhoea is curable with antibiotics, if left untreated it can develop into what is called a disseminated infection – one which has spread around the body.

This can cause a wide range of symptoms which vary from patient to patient.

Skin lesions, including pustules (pus-filled lumps) like the ones the Texas woman presented with, are a possible effect of disseminated gonorrhoea infection (DGI).

Around a quarter of patients with DGI suffer some sort of skin rash as their main symptom, according to MedScape, while the majority of patients will have one.

Arthritic symptoms – such as swelling and pain the joints – is also a common symptom.

Common symptoms of a run-of-the-mill infection include pain when urinating or abnormal white, yellow or green discharge from the penis or vagina.

Other symptoms such as pain, swelling and bleeding may occur around the reproductive organs.

Gonorrhoea (pictured, the bacteria under a microscope) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the world, affecting around 78million people per year

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