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Washington County has intense gonorrhea outbreak

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

One Washington County has experienced almost double the cases of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea so far in 2013 than it had in 2012. Though officials are not certain of the cause, they are urging residents to seek STD tests to see if they have this curable disease.

Yakima County, Washington gonorrhea rates
In 2013, there have been 108 reported cases of gonorrhea in Yakima County, which is a 74 percent increase in cases since the year before. So far, there have been more instances of the disease in 2013 than in all of the previous year. According to the Washington State Health Department, the spread of the disease can now be classified as an "outbreak."

In order to combat the disease, health officials are encouraging residents to seek STD testing, especially if they are at risk. Those who have sex with multiple partners or are between the ages of 20 and 24 are the most vulnerable for the STD, noted CBS affiliate KIMATV. The Health Department has encouraged people both in the area and at the local colleges to get tested if they think they may be at risk.

Gonorrhea infections
Untreated gonorrhea infections can cause a wide variety of complications. Though gonorrhea can often be treated with antibiotics, it can have devastating effects if left alone. and since the disease can be asymptomatic, it is even more important to be tested.

"It is dangerous. It can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and it can also, on a less common basis, enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body," Charles Forster, M.D., told the news source.

The Mayo Clinic reported that gonorrhea can cause painful urination and other genital discomfort, though it may show no signs at all. Those who have partners that have been diagnosed with the disease should be tested. An anonymous STD test can reveal the status of this disease and allow treatment to begin.

Untreated gonorrhea can cause complications in babies and an increased risk of HIV or AIDS infections due to a diminished immune system. A lab test online will show whether or not the disease is present so that the disease can be treated and these serious complications averted.

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