Salt Lake County is experiencing an emerging gonorrheal epidemic with a 5-fold increase in total cases since 2010. This report utilized Salt Lake County Department of Public HealthÕs databases to analyze the epidemic, to evaluate the patient populations who are most highly affected, understand the social factors contributing to the epidemic and to direct effective intervention to control the gonorrheal epidemic.
Cases of gonorrhea in Salt Lake County have been tracked by Salt Lake County Department of Public Health. De-identified data from the electronic database was evaluated for patient gender, age, sexual preference, patientÕs home zip code and the type of diagnostic facility. This data was analyzed to look for a correlation between any of these items and gonorrhea infection during the outbreak. Percent increase was calculated by dividing the difference in 2014 and 2010 cases by the number of cases in 2010.
The results show that the highest incidence age group affected by gonorrhea in Salt Lake County is 25-34 years of age; slightly older than nationally (15-24 years of age). The rate of gonorrhea in females is rising more rapidly than in males as a F:M ratio of gonorrhea cases jumped from 0.23 to 0.58 in 2010 to 2014 respectively. There is a decreasing percentage of males who are diagnosed with gonorrhea who identify as men who have sex with men (MSM). Hospital/clinic facilities saw the steepest rise in cases in recent years. Overall, the epidemic is most highly affecting the west side of Salt Lake County.
The data leads to the conclusion that social factors have affected the distribution of gonorrhea in Salt Lake County. The transition into the heterosexual and female population is possibly due to broader sexual identification than MSM/non-MSM designation; the anecdotal increase in social media dating or increased PReP use. Additional factors include underestimating the risk of contracting the disease – especially in older populations with access to healthcare; a transition of gonorrhea from predominantly the MSM population into other sexually identifying populations; and a lack of awareness on the part of healthcare providers in screening for and intervening in cases of gonorrhea.
L. Beltran, None
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