Grant County’s health officer has declared a gonorrhea outbreak because of a “sharp increase” in the number of cases, a news release said.
From Jan. 1 through Nov. 24, the county’s gonorrhea rate was 77.5 cases per 100,000 people — more than double last year’s rate.
Benton County also has an outbreak, with a rate of 81 cases per 100,000 people from January through November of this year, said Dr. Amy Person, health officer of the Benton-Franklin Health District. In 2012, the county’s rate was 27 cases per 100,000 people.
Franklin County’s 2014 rate is higher than Benton County’s — 100 cases per 100,000 people for January through November —but it hasn’t seen enough of an increase to constitute an outbreak, Person said.
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Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease, with symptoms including discharge, pain or burning during urination, pain during sex and lower abdominal pain in women, Grant County’s release said. Symptoms often don’t appear in the early stages, especially for women.
Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics and diagnosed through a urine test. If it’s untreated, it can lead to serious complications.
Health officials in Grant and Benton-Franklin counties said they’re encouraging health care providers to step up screening and testing, and they’re also continuing public education efforts. “We want to make sure everyone in our area is aware this is an issue,” Person said.