Standard-Examiner (Ogden) (02.12.13)
For 2012, Davis County, Utah, has reported a significant rise in the number of communicable disease cases because of health screenings for incoming Davis County Jail inmates, the steady climb of STDs, and a national pertussis outbreak. According to Davis County Health Department Epidemiologist Brian Hatch, the county recorded 363 more cases in 2012 than in 2011, with 315 of those associated with STDs, hepatitis C, and pertussis. The number of cases is 27 percent more than the 2011 numbers. Hatch disclosed these findings February 12 at a Davis County Board of Health meeting.
In Davis County, chlamydia was the highest reported communicable disease in 2012, with 862 chlamydia cases out of 1,732 communicable disease cases reported. In 2011, Davis County reported 739 chlamydia cases out of 1,369 communicable disease cases. Because of the high chlamydia count, STDs comprised approximately 54 percent of all Davis County cases reported in 2012. Also, gonorrhea cases more than doubled from 2011, according to Hatch. Davis County reported 18 gonorrhea cases in 2011 compared to 40 cases in 2012. Hatch declared, “Half of our time is spent on STDs here,” further saying that in Utah, there is a lack of public health education dealing with disease prevention aimed at young adults between the ages of 18 and 29—the demographic group that mostly contracts and spreads STDs.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases found at incoming jail inmates’ health screenings also contributed to the high communicable disease case numbers. The jail used a grant awarded to the county to conduct HCV testing for incoming inmates. The jail screened 753 inmates for HCV, with 60 testing positive. Hatch explained that many of those testing positive were unaware of their infection. The county provided counseling, encouragement for the inmates to get confirmatory testing, and community resources upon their jail release. Visit www.daviscountyutah.gov/health for the full county health’s communicable disease report for 2012.