Gonorrhea cases continue to rise in Eastern Washington; reach 30-year high

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — The number of gonorrhea cases has been rising and is now at a 30-year high in Yakima County.

County medical officer Dr. Chris Spitters tells the Yakima Herald-Republic  it's a statewide trend.

He says the reason is uncertain. All that officials can say for sure is that people are having more unprotected sex.

The sexually transmitted disease can cause fertility problems in women but it is easily treated with antibiotics.

The news of Yakima County gonorrhea cases comes just a few weeks after Grant County officials warned of a sharp increase in gonorrhea. The 2013 Grant County gonorrhea rate was 35.9 per 100,000, compared to the statewide rate of 63.8.  From January 1 through November 24, 2014, however, the Grant County gonorrhea rate is 77.5, marking a 118 percent increase.

Because the reported cases often represent only a fraction of all cases, the Grant County Health Officer is asking healthcare providers to increase screening their sexually active patients for gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases.