2017 Calif. Public Health Report: Kern County among highest rates of STDs in state
16 May, 2018, 00:31
The Golden State has seen a almost 45 percent increase in three of the most serious STD's - syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea - since five years ago: 300,000 such cases in 2017. From 2016 to 2017, there were as many cases of congenital syphilis as in the previous 10 years combined. Chlamydia rates among girls and women were 60 percent higher than boys and men.
The most reported STD was chlamydia, with 218,710 cases reported in 2017.
Thirty-three percent of gonorrhea cases in California were in people under age 25. The state health agency reminds Californians that chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain if they go untreated.
Female cases of syphilis increased early 7-fold from less than 250 early-cases reported in 2012.
"STDs are preventable by consistently using condoms, and many STDs can be cured with antibiotics", said CDPH Director Dr. Karen Smith in a statement.
Different stages of syphilis (primary, secondary, latent, and tertiary) have different symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states. Officials say regular STD testing is important because most people who are infected don't know it. However, Dr. James Watt, the chief of communicable disease control division for CDPH said that social media has played a vital role in helping many people discover anonymous or random sex partners. In women, it can also be passed to the baby, called congenital syphilis and can result in stillbirth, early death, or long-term infection. During an eight-week period in May and June, Public Health representatives will provide syphilis tutorials and assessments to more than 500 medical providers who serve patients at higher risk of syphilis and pregnant women.
Another 278 babies were born with the infection, which can cause severe health problems including premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, blindness and hearing loss.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are most common among people under 30, the report said, warning that rates of the diseases may be indicators of a struggling public health system. "Enhanced collaboration and partnership with local hospitals, community based organizations, and school districts throughout the County is key to help raise awareness, increase screenings and drive congenital syphilis rates down".
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