Gonorrhea Cases in Missoula Spike, Already Nearing 2014 Total
The state of Montana is dealing with a rash of new sexually transmitted disease outbreaks. Montana Health Department Communicable Disease Department Bureau Chief Jim Murphy has been tracking the outbreak of gonorrhea, which appears to be part of a longer trend.
"If you look back just a couple of years like in 2012 for instance, we were hovering just slightly over 100 cases," Murphy said. "This most recent year, 2014, we had over 400 cases so it has increased by a significant percentage in the last few years."
Statewide, there have already been 209 cases of gonorrhea diagnosed, nearly half of last year's total. Cindy Hotchkiss from the Missoula County Health Department said the local numbers are telling the same story.
"Basically in 2013, we had 21 total cases of gonorrhea reported to us and in 2014, we had 27," Hotchkiss said. "As of right now, you know mid-April 2015, since January 1 we have already had 20 cases in Missoula County."
Cases of both syphilis and gonorrhea appear to be increasing, particularly among those between the ages of 20 and 50. Murphy said that even with the increasing rate of gonorrhea, Montana is still below the national average.