The state Department of Health has declared a gonorrhea outbreak in Benton County, the Benton-Franklin Health District announced Wednesday.
The number of cases through September is up 84 percent compared to the same period last year, a health district news release said.
Last year, the gonorrhea rate in Benton County was 27.2 per 100,000 people, compared to the statewide rate of 48.1 per 100,000 people, the news release said. Year to date, the state is also experiencing an increase in cases, up 33 percent compared to last year, it said.
The local and state rates are below the national rate, the news release said.
Screening of at-risk individuals, testing symptomatic patients and timely treatment of infected persons and their partners are all necessary to help address this outbreak, said Dr. Amy Person, the districts health officer, in the release.
She said the district will continue to work with medical providers and the community to reverse this trend.
Gonorrhea is a common infectious disease spread through unprotected sex, and it can lead to serious health problems if untreated, the release said.