Health Indicator Report of Gonorrhea Cases
Although much less common than chlamydia infections, gonorrhea, caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is a priority public health concern in Utah. Untreated gonorrhea infections can damage the reproductive systems of both males and females. Females with gonorrhea infection are at risk for developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and both men and women may become infertile as a result of untreated gonorrhea infections. Also, susceptibility to infections such as HIV also increases when an individual has gonorrhea. Furthermore, pregnant women with gonorrhea can pass the infection to their infant during delivery, potentially resulting in ophthalmia neonatorum. Gonorrhea can spread to joints and become systemic (disseminated gonorrhea). In addition to the cervix and urethra, the rectum and pharynx are also possible sites of gonococcal infection.
Gonorrhea, Utah and U.S., 1992-2013
NotesRates were calculated by dividing the number of cases for each year by the total population within that year and multiplying by 100,000. Prior to 2009, Utah rates were calculated using the morbidity report date; effective 2009, rates were calculated using the date of diagnosis. Rate for the U.S. is not yet available for 2013.
- Utah Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology
- National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Population Estimates: Utah Governor's Office of Planning and Budget
- Population Estimates: National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) through a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Census Bureau, IBIS Version 2013
Data Interpretation IssuesReported gonorrhea rates are calculated by dividing the number of cases within the population of interest by the total number of persons within that population, then multiplying by 100,000. It should be noted that because of the relatively small number of gonorrhea infections reported in Utah, rates can be volatile: a small change in the number of cases can noticeably change the rate. This change may look significant, but, statistically, it may not be. Caution is strongly recommended when interpreting small case numbers and rates.
DefinitionRate of newly reported cases of gonorrhea by date of diagnosis per 100,000 population.
NumeratorNumber of newly reported cases of gonorrhea by date of diagnosis.
DenominatorNumber of persons in Utah.
Healthy People Objective STD-6:Reduce gonorrhea rates
U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category
Other ObjectivesRelated Healthy People 2020 Objectives STD-5: Reduce the proportion of females aged 15 to 44 years who have ever required treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). STD-6: Reduce gonorrhea rates among: * 6.1 Females aged 15 to 44 years; * 6.2 Males aged 15 to 44 years.
How Are We Doing?Following a doubling of Utah's gonorrhea rate from 2003 to 2006, when the rate peaked at 35.2 cases per 100,000 population, Utah's gonorrhea rate decreased annually to the lowest reported rate of 9.8 in 2011. In 2012, the rate increased to 16.8 cases per 100,000 population. The rate increased again in 2013 to 32.8 cases per 100,000 population, a 95% increase from 2012. In 2013, gonorrhea rates in the state were higher in males (39.6 cases per 100,000 population) than in females (26.0). Rates in females increased from 9.4 cases per 100,000 population in 2012 to 26.0 cases per 100,000 population in 2013 (177% increase). The highest rates of gonorrhea in Utah in 2013 were among males aged 25 to 29 (123.7 cases per 100,000 population) and males aged 20 to 24 (105.6).
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?Gonorrhea rates in Utah are well below rates in the U.S. In 2012, Utah's gonorrhea rate ranked 45th in the nation. The overall rate for gonorrhea in the U.S. in 2012 was 107.5 cases per 100,000 population. Nationally in 2012, gonorrhea rates were higher in females (108.7 cases per 100,000 persons) than males (105.8 cases per 100,000 population). Gonorrhea rates were highest among females aged 20 to 24 (578.5 cases per 100,000 population) and females aged 15 to 19 (521.2). The next highest group was males aged 20 to 24 (462.8 cases per 100,000 population). [CDC. ''Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance'', 2012.]
What Is Being Done?Persons who test positive for gonorrhea are confidentially interviewed by a disease intervention specialist from a local health department to educate the patient, ensure proper treatment, and to obtain sexual partner information for follow up. This process potentially prevents the spread of infection and reduces the likelihood of the patient becoming reinfected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that patients with gonococcal infections be treated with a combination gonorrhea/chlamydia antibiotic therapy regardless of chlamydia test result. The Utah Department of Health Communicable Disease Prevention Program, along with local health departments, currently provide STD presentations upon request to a variety of organizations, agencies, and facilities.
Available ServicesLocal health districts have STD (sexually transmitted disease) clinics located at their local health department where adolescents can be tested and treated for STDs at minimal or no cost. Planned Parenthood has locations throughout Utah that also provide STD services at minimal cost. Condoms are available at these locations free of cost. STD presentations are available through the Utah Department of Health upon request. The Utah Department of Health also has educational pamphlets available. The Utah Minor's Consent Law allows adolescents between the ages of 14 and 17 years to be tested and treated for an STD without the consent of a parent.
Page Content Updated On 07/21/2015, Published on 07/21/2015