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Davis County gonorrhea cases up 50 percent

Published February 14, 2014 12:11 pm

Health • Whooping cough is still high and the sexually transmitted disease is up statewide.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The number of communicable diseases reported in Davis County last year inched up from the 2012 total and included a jump in gonorrhea cases.

And for the second consecutive year, the number of cases of whooping cough, officially called pertussis, was high, according to an annual report by the Communicable Disease & Epidemiology Division of the Davis County Health Department.

The report, which was presented Tuesday to the Davis County Board of Health, says reported communicable disease cases totaled 1,737 in 2013. The 2012 total was 1,732.

The 931 reports of sexually transmitted diseases made up nearly 54 percent of total cases. These STDs included 847 chlamydia cases, 60 gonorrhea cases, 20 syphilis cases and four cases of HIV/AIDS.

The gonorrhea cases rose by 50 percent over the 40 in 2012, an increase that also has been occurring statewide and nationwide, according to county health officials. The 2013 chlamydia cases decreased slightly from the 862 total the previous year.

Brian Hatch, the health department's deputy director, said there is a chain reaction when people infected with gonorrhea have multiple partners, who, in turn, might spread it to other partners. Because some people with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms, the department tries to find a patient's sex partners so they can be tested and treated, he said.

Other risk factors include drug use and not using condoms, he said.

Utah public health officials recently reported a 94 percent jump in gonorrhea cases statewide, with 633 from January through September in 2013, compared to 327 reported during the same period in 2012. In Davis County, whooping cough also has been on an upward trend, with 104 cases last year and 139 in 2012. Both years were significantly higher than the 25 in 2011.

The report says whooping cough tends to be cyclic, with outbreaks often occurring every six to eight years.

"A clustering of cases occurred in the summer months (of 2013) and involved a large number of children/adolescents, which mimicked the pattern of 2012," the report says. "Disease investigations noted that several cases had previously been vaccinated. Transmission of infection often occurred among household members." 

Other increases noted in the report were salmonella cases, with 19 in 2012 and 49 in 2013, and hospitalizations for influenza, with 27 cases in the 2011-12 influenza season and 76 cases in 2012-13.

pmanson@sltrib.com Twitter: PamelaMansonSLC