Gonorrhea on the rise in Alaska

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In 2009, new cases of gonorrhea have increased 69% with no known explanation. While treatable, in women gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility and miscarriages. Often, women don’t even know they have it as mild cases of gonorrhea are asymptomatic.

These findings were reported in the Anchorage Daily News. Susan Jones, representative from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services confirmed this as the biggest one-year increase since the 1970s.

Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics. Many people infected with gonorrhea have no symptoms or symptoms that do not appear for about 30 days. In women, the initial symptom can include painful urination, increased vaginal discharge or vaginal bleeding between periods. Men may experience a burning sensation during urination, discharge from the penis or painful, swollen testicles.

State officials can find no reason for the increase. Men and women between the ages of 20 and 24 had the highest infection rates. Women made up slightly more than half of the cases. Jones said the rise in numbers cannot be attributed to increased testing. The number of tests has remained consistent over the last few years. The type of gonorrhea most prevelant is a milder type than in previous outbreak years. “In some cases the syumptoms are mild enough, or not annoying enough, that people are not coming in to seek care, or delaying coming in,” Joens said, adding that “means they have gonorrhea for a long period of time and are able to transmit it more.”

It also means this younger demographic is not using condoms which could mean much more serious spread of disease later.

Source: Medical News Today


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