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Gonorrhea on the rise in Washington

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OLYMPIA — The number of new gonorrhea cases diagnosed in Washington jumped more than 30 percent from 2013 to 2012, concerning state and local health authorities.

There were 3,137 new cases of gonorrhea reported through September 2013, up from 2,350 during the same period in 2012, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Numbers have continued to increase since 2010, officials said, in nearly all age groups and races.

Young adults are the most affected, with counties such as Spokane, Yakima, Thurston, Kitsap and Benton seeing nearly “outbreak” levels, officials said.

Officials said they are doing their best to monitor new cases and recommend those sickened by the disease get seek treatment.

“We’re working closely with local health agencies to actively monitor the rise in cases,” Mark Aubin, the sexually transmitted disease controller for the Department of Health, said. “We’re especially concerned because of gonorrhea’s resistance to antibiotics used to treat it.”

Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted disease in Washington after chlamydia, officials said. It is spread through unprotected sex with a partner,

Officials encouraged anyone with symptoms such as painful urination or discharge to see a doctor.

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