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Gonorrhea epidemic reported in Butte County

Gonorrhea is at an epidemic level in Butte County, health officials reported on Thursday.

Nearly 300 cases of the sexually transmitted disease, which can be treated with antibiotics, were confirmed in 2014. The number of people in the county infected with gonorrhea has doubled since 2013.

The increase represents epidemic levels in the county, according to the Butte County Public Health Department.

People as young as 13 and as old as 62 have contracted the disease. More than 40 percent of the cases have occurred in people 25 years old or younger.

Butte County men and women are affected in nearly equal proportion by the bacterial infection. Often, a person does not realize they have gonorrhea.

However, if left untreated, health problems could result, including sterility. Pregnant women can pass the bacteria onto their infants at childbirth.

“We urge people to get tested and treated, including their partners,” said Dr. Mark Lundberg, county health officer.

A health department press release noted that condoms reduce the chance of getting gonorrhea.

Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.

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