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Spike in cases of STDs in Oregon county

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

A county in Oregon is experiencing an increase in cases of sexually transmitted diseases, with both gonorrhea and syphilis leading all other cases by a significant margin. Public health officials in Lane County worry about the prevalence and are asking doctors and residents to be more vigilant in prevention and reporting.

According to Disease Surveillance Data from the state's Public Health Department, Oregon has seen a large increase in the number of reported syphilis cases over the last six years, while gonorrhea has remained at stable numbers in the same amount of time. However, by the end of November 2013, Lane County had more than 200 reported cases of gonorrhea, a 60 percent increase from 2012. While the number of syphilis cases is relatively small at 23, the previous pattern in the area was one or two cases per year.

"Occasionally, if you look over a 10-year period, we do have little outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases. This one is lasting longer than we want, and it's significantly higher than we want, so it's concerning," said Paul Luedtke, Lane County Public Health Officer.

While Luedtke places blame on a few different trends, the economic recession can take a large portion of it. The unemployment rate in the area rose above 10 percent, leaving many of the county's citizens without access to affordable health care. This can have many negative implications when it comes to STD testing due to a lack of diagnoses and reporting. In order to curb this concern, Lane County restarted the practice of clinics open once a week to see patients with STDs.

Additionally, Luedtke would also like physicians to research deeper into diagnoses and treatments of various STDs, specifically gonorrhea and syphilis. The previously recommended dosage for treating gonorrhea was 125 milligrams of the antibiotic ceftriaxone, however, the number is now 250 mg, as the bacteria developed a stronger resistance to the drug.

The use of ceftriaxone
While it is used to treat various infections, the antibiotic is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of gonorrhea and meningitis. It may also be administered before surgery to prevent any surgical site infections from developing, as it works to kill bacteria. A distinct advantage of being prescribed ceftriaxone is that it is fast acting, with most cases being cleared within one to two weeks of use.

If an individual is worried about his or her risk of gonorrhea, syphilis or other STDs, he or she should consider online lab tests in order to identify the presence of any harmful bacteria.

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