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Gonorrhea outbreak in Rock Island

(Photo from Pixabay)

ROCK ISLAND — Public health officials in Rock Island have declared a public health emergency because of higher than normal cases of gonorrhea.

The Rock Island Dispatch-Argus reported that forty-four gonorrhea cases have been reported in the first three months of 2019, compared with 27 cases in 2018. Rock Island County Department of Heath Chief Operating Officer Janet Hill told the newspaper that one of the thresholds for declaring an outbreak is at least a five-case increase per month. The department is encouraging anyone who thinks they could be at risk to get tested.

“Our rates have been going up just like they are all across the country. We actually have seen increases in gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis,” Hill told the Dispatch-Argus. “However, they went up so quickly in the first quarter of 2019 that the Illinois Department of Public Health has declared an outbreak.”

Symptoms of gonorrhea include burning or painful urination, discharge from the genitals and pain or swelling in testicles. It can be transmitted through vaginal, oral or anal sex. A rectal infection can cause rectal pain, bleeding or discharge and oral infection could cause a sore throat. However, it is possible to have gonorrhea and not show symptoms. When caught early, it is easily treatable.

The Dispatch-Argus said that the Rock Island County Department of Health offers an anonymous walk-in clinic for STIs on Wednesdays 1:30-3:30 p.m. at its office, 2112 25th Ave., Rock Island, for $25.

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