Cases of the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea continued to climb in Washington state last year, rising to 6,136 cases in 2014, up from 4,395 cases in 2013 – a jump of almost 40 percent.
The latest increase follows a 33 percent increase from 2012 to 2013, Washington state health officials said Wednesday.
The latest increase follows a 33 percent increase from 2012 to 2013. Rates of infection in Washington have more than doubled since 2009 rising from 34 cases per 100,000 people to a rate of 88 cases per 100,000 people in 2014. State and local health officials have yet to learn why the number of infections keeps climbing.
“The continued increase in cases is concerning,” said Zandt Bryan, infectious disease coordinator for the department. “We’re working closely with local health partners to monitor the situation, and to share information about the importance of routine screening, getting exposed partners treated quickly, and the need to practice safe sex.”
Increases in gonorrhea diagnoses have been seen in men and women of various age groups, but young adults continue to be the most affected. Most counties around the state saw an increase in cases of the disease. However, some have seen bigger spikes. Clark, Kitsap, Snohomish, Yakima, Grant, and Spokane counties all experienced outbreaks during 2014.
- Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted disease in the state after chlamydia.
- The disease is spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner.
- The infection often has no symptoms, particularly among women.If symptoms are present, they may include discharge or painful urination.
- Serious long-term health issues can occur if the disease isn’t treated, including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and increased chances of HIV transmission.
- Drugs that are currently available are effective against the disease, but gonorrhea can become resistant to medications.
The Department of Health urges anyone who is experiencing symptoms, or has a partner that has been diagnosed, to be tested. Sexually active individuals with multiple partners are encouraged to have routine screenings. Prevention methods include consistent and correct use of condoms, prompt treatment of partners, mutual monogamy, and abstinence. Continue reading