STDs are tops in Salt Lake County, Health Department says

Chlamydia, depicted in this photomicrograph, is among the most commonly reported diseases in Salt Lake County. Images: publicdomainfiles.com and Google Maps

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Aug. 4, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The Salt Lake County Health Department has released its annual report on infectious diseases in Salt Lake County, and a key category remains unchanged.

“Sexually transmitted diseases continue to be our most frequently reported diseases in the county,” said medical director Dr. Dagmar Vitek, Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCoHD).

“Besides chlamydia and gonorrhea at the top of list, syphilis and new HIV infections also make the top 20. This is a big reminder that everyone who is sexually active should be tested for STDs.”

The Top 5 reported diseases in Salt Lake County are:

  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis C (both acute and chronic)
  • Influenza (hospitalized cases)
  • Tuberculosis (latent)

It’s likely that some cases go unreported, according to information from SLCoHD, so the actual number of cases maybe be even higher than officials know.

But even a few cases of some diseases is cause for concern, the SLCoHD report said.

“Syphilis, for example, is only #13 on the list for 2016, but the number of cases (106) is a significant increase from previous years—that is the beginning of a syphilis outbreak,” said Lynn Beltran, epidemiology supervisor and STD prevention program manager.

“So far in 2017, we have doubled the number of syphilis cases reported at this point in the year in 2016.”

Utah law requires that the diagnosis or identification of over 80 infectious diseases be reported to public health for ongoing surveillance and investigation. SLCoHD Epidemiology and Infectious Disease Bureaus collect reportable data from laboratories, hospitals, medical providers and outpatient clinics, then investigate each report through patient interviews and/or chart review.

In 2016, the Health Department investigated over 14,000 reports of disease in the county to determine the source of infection and interrupt transmission.

The full 2016 report is available at saltlakehealth.org, along with a weekly infectious disease surveillance report and a monthly pertussis-specific report.

“These reports are a resource for healthcare providers, public health practitioners, community partners and the public at large,” Vitek said. “We must all work together to help control the spread of disease — and for the public, that primarily means getting tested.”

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