Cases of gonorrhea on the rise in Jackson County

Posted at 4:29 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 16:29:56-04

Sexually transmitted disease rates are increasing across Mid-Michigan, especially in young people in Jackson County.

"We're seeing this increase in gonorrhea cases that we haven't seen previously. Our rate went up 72 percent from 2016. So that's quite an increase," Jackson County Health Officer Richard Thoune said.

According to Thoune, the county has been seeing an increase in STD's over the past few years, He says that oftentimes, young people who get the infections and they are simply being careless.

"We just don't think people are paying attention to the prevention message. We have a clinic here and sometimes we see the same people," he said.

When it comes to the state average for gonorrhea, Jackson actually falls below it, but that isn't the case when it comes to other STDs.

"Chlamydia, we are actually higher than the state rate is right now. We've been that way for a number of years. It is alarming, we never like to see an increase in the rate of the number of cases of a disease," he said.

Experts say that the rise is happening not just in Mid-Michigan, but all across the state. In the past year, the number of chlamydia cases has gone up by 9 percent with gonorrhea cases jumping up by 22 percent.

"We have been seeing a rise, especially in gonorrhea and chlamydia. Especially in the younger populations, the 20 somethings...Its really been on the rise. We've been seeing a lot of cases of it," Dr. LaKeeya Tucker said.

And the increase can cause problems down the road, especially for women.

"And then they have blocked fallopian tubes, and then damage to the internal organs or the uterus, and so then later they have fertility problems and problems conceiving babies," Dr. Tucker said.

Symptoms can often go unnoticed for gonorrhea and chlamydia, so experts say to get tested regularly. In addition, they say to use a condom or practice abstinence to keep yourself safe.

If you feel like you have been exposed, contact your local health department.