Girl with gonorrhea from hot spring: case study

TORONTO – An 11-year-old Austrian girl contracted gonorrhea after bathing in a hot spring as a reminder to authorities investigating similar cases that these types of infections are not always a sign of the disease. automatic signal of sexual abuse, a new case study shows.

The report, published in September in the Journal of Medical Case Reports, details the case of an 11-year-old girl who was diagnosed with gonorrhea two weeks after a family vacation to Italy in August 2020. .

The family spent some at several hot springs next to a crater lake known as Specchio di Venere, or “The Mirror of Venus”, on Pantelleria Island off the southern coast of Italy.

Two days after the visit to the hot springs, the girl started to have itching and burning, which was soothed with some antifungal creams, but after the trip she went to see a pediatrician, who was able to diagnose diagnosed with gonorrhea after some tests.

The authors write in the case study: “The child adamantly refused all sexual relations. “The family was traveling together on holiday when symptoms began, and there is no evidence or identified chance of sexual transmission. Therefore, it was concluded that she must have contracted the infection from the pool water contaminated with gonococcal ‘.

The child was treated for the infection and eventually made a full recovery.

The authors point out that this case study is an example of why authorities should not automatically assume sexual abuse in these types of cases.

The study states: “The presumption that a gonococcal infection is diagnosed as sexual abuse can be very serious, when children are wrongly abandoned by their parents and their caregivers face accusations of sexual abuse. false accusations of sex crimes”. “Our case demonstrates that the very rare diagnosis of gonorrhea in children can be the result of pointless transmission and that contaminated hot pools are a very rare source of infection that should be considered. .”

Research indicates that there have been cases in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Denmark where experts have told the court that genital gonorrhea in children can only occur through certain forms. awake sexual activity, when it is later revealed. that the infection is actually spread through non-sexual means.

In the past, children’s hospitals have linked gonorrhea outbreaks to regular bath tubs, towels, washcloths and diapers. Other cases have been linked to transmission to contaminated toilets and shared beds.

As for the hot springs, the researchers note that the warm, acidic water, along with the mineral content found in these pools, has the potential to increase bacterial persistence.

“This rare event may have been caused by a number of special factors, including the child’s bath time being linked to infected visitors, but people using these pools should be warned about the possibility of this. such exposure, including the risk, the researchers note.


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