PACIFIC COUNTY — Across the state, the number of cases of gonorrhea has been steadily climbing since 2010, and it’s only getting worse. Pacific County is no exception.

In an Oct. 24 press release, the Washington State Department of Health announced that there has been a 34 percent spike in the number of cases this year. In Spokane, Yakima, Thurston, Kitsap and Benton counties, cases of gonorrhea, which was already the second most common sexually transmitted disease in the state, are “at outbreak levels,” according to the DOH.

As of September, regional health agencies had reported 3,137 confirmed cases of gonorrhea to the DOH — that’s 787 more cases than during the same time period in 2012.

In Pacific County, the overall number of gonorrhea cases remains small, but has increased dramatically. According to Marqise Allen, a spokesperson for the DOH, Pacific County reported two cases of gonorrhea during the first nine months of 2012. During the same time period in 2013, the county reported eight cases — a 300 percent increase over last year.

According to the press release, both men and women, across most age groups in both rural and urban communities have seen an upswing in the disease, although young adults have been affected the most.

So far, experts haven’t been able to figure out what’s causing the uptick, but say that it is concerning, because certain strains of the disease are developing resistance to antibiotics, making them more virulent, and harder to treat.

“We’re working closely with local health agencies to actively monitor the rise in cases. We’re especially concerned because of gonorrhea’s resistance to antibiotics used to treat it,” Mark Aubin, sexually transmitted disease controller for the DOH said in the press release. “It’s important for us to assure every reported case is interviewed so the partners of infected people are identified and receive treatment.”

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