A decrease in the reported number of chlamydia and gonorrhea cases is good news for St. Clair County, but public health experts said the area needs to remain vigilant in its fight against sexually transmitted diseases.
The Illinois Department of Public Health recently released the reported number cases of the infections for 2013, which are down slightly from 2012.
There was a 19 percent drop in gonorrhea cases, from 660 in 2012 to 533 in 2013. And a slight 4 percent drop in chlamydia, from 2,121 cases in 2012 to 2,029 in 2013.
"We have seen a slight decrease in some of our numbers from 2012-2013," said Marsha Wild, manager of Infectious Disease Prevention Services at the St. Clair County Health Department. "But we need to stay vigilant with out public health efforts, i.e. informing and educating the public about sexually transmitted infections, especially in the 10-25 year olds."
However, the number of early syphilis rose by 22 percent, from 9 cases reported in 2012 to 11 cases in 2013.
Early syphilis refers to a stage of syphilis, meaning that it was acquired in the past 12 months, Wild explained.
For the state of Illinois in 2013, there were 63,797 chlamydia cases, 16,464 cases of gonorrhea and 1,607 early syphilis cases reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The majority of chlamydia (more than 70 percent) and gonorrhea (more than 60 percent) cases were among adolescents aged 15-24, Wild said.
The numbers reflect only those who seek medical attention, Wild pointed out. "Indeed, there are more cases that are not reported since they do not seek medical attention," she said.
For more information about sexually transmitted infections, visit the St. Clair County Health Department's website, www.health.co.st-clair.il.us, and click under Personal Health Services, Communicable Disease. At the bottom of the page, there is a list of referrals for patients who suspect they may have a sexually transmitted infection.
Contact reporter Maria Hasenstab at email@example.com or 618-239-2460.