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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Health Officials Report Major Increases in Chlamydia,

February 11, 2002
Associated Press (02.06.02) - Monday, February 11, 2002

Public health officials in Idaho have issued an alert due to the unusually high number of people contracting gonorrhea and chlamydia in the North Central Health District (NCHD), which takes in Nez Perce, Clearwater, Lewis, Idaho and Latah counties as well as Asotin County in Washington. Last month, five people tested positive for gonorrhea, more than twice the number for all of 2001. Three cases were reported in Latah, and one case each was reported from Nez Perce and Idaho counties.

"We haven't had much gonorrhea in the area for a number of years, and people think it's gone," said Donna Anderson, an epidemiologist with the NCHD. "The cases we were seeing in January have been in the 18- to 30-year-old age group," Anderson said. "We are not really talking about young teens. We wanted to get the message out to beware." Chlamydia is a larger problem, with 22 people in the district testing positive in January. Half of the reports were from Asotin County. Six chlamydia infections were reported from Nez Perce, with two more in Latah County and one case each reported from Clearwater, Lewis and Idaho counties. Those who are infected may not show any symptoms and therefore are not aware that they are infected, said Anderson.

"Both can be easily treated with antibiotics," Anderson said. "But the bad news is that people that are catching gonorrhea and chlamydia are the same people that are at high risk for other sexually transmitted diseases like HIV and herpes." Anderson suggested limiting the number of sexual partners, abstinence, the proper use of condoms, and monogamy.