MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 2016 09 0265(34) 889-93 doi 10.15585/mmwr.mm6534a1
Gonorrhea (caused by infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae) is the second most commonly reported notifiable disease in the United States (1). Left untreated, gonorrhea is associated with serious long-term adverse health effects, including pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Infection also facilitates transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (2,3). Effective gonorrhea control relies upon early detection and effective antimicrobial treatment. To assess gonorrhea rate trends in Utah, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) analyzed Utah National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (UT-NEDSS) data for the state during 2009-2014. After declining during 2009-2011, the statewide gonorrhea rate increased fivefold to 49 cases per 100,000 population in 2014. During 2009-2014, the proportion of cases among women increased from 21% to 39% (decreasing among males from 79% to 61%). Among male patients, the proportion who identified as men who have sex with men (MSM) decreased from 67% to 42%. These demographic changes suggest that increased heterosexual transmission of gonorrhea in Utah might be occurring. Health departments need to work with providers to ensure populations at high risk are being screened and properly treated for gonorrhea. Clinicians need to be aware of increases in the risk for infection among women and non-MSM males when making screening and testing decisions and educate their patients regarding gonorrhea transmission and prevention practices.