Alaska sees highest number of gonorrhea cases since 1980s, state says

Published: Jan. 23, 2018 at 5:21 PM AKST
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The Alaska department of health and social services says Alaska is having an outbreak of gonorrhea with 2017 having the highest number of cases since the 1980s.

Preliminary numbers are estimated to be above 2,000 reported cases.

People under the age of 30 represented 60 percent of those cases.

Susan Jones, HIV/STD Program Manager for the state, said young people and minority populations are most at risk, and those infected can be at increased risk for HIV.

Jones said the bacterial disease is spread sexually and is 100 percent curable.

"The medication treats gonorrhea and gets rid of the gonorrhea infection, but people can get reinfected," Jones said. "It's pretty easy, you just have to be exposed to it and you can get reinfected again, that's why it's important to get all the other partners treated."

The infection can affect the genitals, rectum and throat.

"Patients that go in to see their provider need to tell their provider the kind of sexual activity they're having," Jones said. "The treatment's a little different depending on where the infection is."

In some cases, there aren't any symptoms, but others include pain in the infected area.

Anyone who thinks they or a partner may have been exposed to gonorrhea should get tested and treated to keep it from spreading to others.