Global Dispatch (10.27.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
Washington has seen a sharp increase in gonorrhea cases this year, which prompted state health officials to urge anyone who has symptoms or an infected partner to be tested. The State of Washington Department of Health has reported 3,137 gonorrhea cases in the first nine months of 2013, compared with 2,350 during the same time frame in 2012. Although the state’s overall gonorrhea rate is below the national average, the rates have been growing since 2010 and this past year represents a 34-percent increase.
“We’re working closely with local health agencies to actively monitor the rise in cases. We’re especially concerned because of gonorrhea’s resistance to antibiotics used to treat it,” said Mark Aubin, state STD controller. “It’s important for us to assure every reported case is interviewed so the partners of infected people are identified and receive treatment.”
According to health officials, both urban and rural counties in the Eastern and Western parts of the state reported increases. Five counties have reported epidemic levels of gonorrhea, one of the most common STDs: Spokane, Yakima, Thurston, Kitsap, and Benton. CDC estimates that 820,000 Americans are infected annually and fewer than half are identified and reported.