OLYMPIA, Wa. - State health officials say gonorrhea is spreading in Washington – but it may be curable with the right medication.
The number of gonorrhea cases diagnosed rose by nearly 40 percent in 2014 — from 4,395 cases in 2013 to 6,136 cases in 2014. Health officials also reported a 33 percent increase from 2012 to 2013.
Many people don’t have symptoms. But if they do occur, symptoms usually appear between 2 and 7 days after exposure and may be as long as 30 days. Follow this link to read more about the specific gonorrhea symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends a dual-drug therapy for gonorrhea treatment. Follow this link for specific treatment details. Antibiotics have successfully treated gonorrhea for several decades; however, the bacteria has developed resistance to nearly every drug used for treatment.
Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease.
If you are concerned and want to be tested, Public Health - Seattle and King County provides exams on a sliding fee scale. No one is turned away because they can’t afford to pay. The testing center is at 908 Jefferson St. on the 11th floor, or follow this link for a list of other Seattle-area community testing centers.
State health officials say they have yet to determine the reason for the increase, but they say increases have been seen in most counties of the state, in both men and women of various age groups. Young adults are the most affected.
Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted disease in the state after chlamydia.
Rates of infection have been going up since 2009 — from a rate of 34 cases per 100,000 people that year to a rate of 88 cases per 100,000 in 2014.