CDC: New STD cases in US set record high in 2016

CHICAGO, Sept 26 (Reuters) - New U.S. cases of three common sexually transmitted diseases - chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis - reached more than 2 million in 2016, a new record, U.S. health officials said, prompting calls for more effective prevention efforts.

Most of the new diagnoses were cases of chlamydia, which comprised 1.6 million cases. But there were also nearly a half million (470,000) new gonorrhea cases and nearly 28,000 new cases of syphilis, according to an annual report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.

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All three sexually transmitted diseases can be cured with antibiotics, but if left undiagnosed, they can cause serious health problems, including infertility, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth in infants, and increased risk for HIV transmission.

"Increases in STDs are a clear warning of a growing threat," Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a statement. "STDs are a persistent enemy, growing in number, and outpacing our ability to respond."

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STDs under the microscope: See what they look like
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STDs under the microscope: See what they look like
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium
Human pap smear showing chlamydia in the vacuoles at 500x and stained with H&E.
Illustration of an infection as a result of the Chlamydia bacterium. Chlamydia trachomatis is responsible for a large part of infertilities, by obstructing the Fallopian tubes, preventing the egg from being fertilised and carried to the uterus.
Gonococcus (neisseria gonorrhoeae) is the bacterium responsable for gonorrhea. In men the symptoms are acute burning when urinating and some discharge (clap). In women the symptoms are burning when urinating, bartholin's cyst, cervisitis, salpingitis.
HIV infection. Computer artwork of HIV particles in the bloodstream.
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According to the Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report, there were 27,814 newly reported cases of syphilis in 2016, up nearly 18 percent from 2015. Most of these cases - 80.6 percent - occurred in men who have sex with men, but rates among women rose 36 percent, and rates among newborns rose 28 percent.

Gail Bolan, director of CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, called the increase in syphilis rates among babies "a tragic systems failure."

“All it takes is a simple STD test and antibiotic treatment to prevent this enormous heartache and help assure a healthy start for the next generation of Americans,” Bolan said in a statement.

Rates of gonorrhea, a disease increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, rose 22.2 percent among men and 13.8 percent among women in 2016 compared with the prior year.

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Gonorrhea
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Gonorrhea
This illustration depicts a three-dimensional (3D) computer-generated image of a number of drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeaediplococcal bacteria. Note that extending from the organisms’ exterior were type IV pili, or hair-like appendages, which in this case, are used to promote motility for these bacteria, and improve surface adherence. The artistic recreation was based upon scanning electron micrographic imagery. (Photo via CDC)
Gonococci Or Neisseria Gonorrhoeae In An Uretral Pus. This Bacterium Is Reponsible For Gonorrhea Blennorrhagia Or Clap, Urethritis, Vaginitis Sexually Transmitted Disease. Microscopy X 600. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 2003: Microphotograph of gonococcus (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), bacteria which causes gonorrhea. (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Gonococci Or Neisseria Gonorrhoeae In An Uretral Pus. This Bacterium Is Reponsible For Gonorrhea Blennorrhagia Or Clap, Urethritis, Vaginitis Sexually Transmitted Disease. Microscopy X 600. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
Gonococci Or Neisseria Gonorrhoeae In An Uretral Pus. This Bacterium Is Reponsible For Gonorrhea Blennorrhagia Or Clap, Urethritis, Vaginitis Sexually Transmitted Disease. Microscopy X 600. (Photo By BSIP/UIG Via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JANUARY 11: Dr. Vanessa Allen leads an international effort to deal with growing problem of drug-resistant gonorrhea. She has just published a ground-breaking study in the Journal of American Medicine based on research conducted at a government lab in Etobicoke that looked at samples from Ontario patients. The medical microbiologist is seen in her public health lab with a plate of cultured Neisseria ganorrhoeae. 13-01-11 Richard Lautens/Toronto Star (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Health awareness poster features a stalwart soldier accompanied by the text 'Fight ... syphilis and gonorrhea,' 1943. Included are several tips 'Avoid exposure,' 'Avoid pickups and prostitutes,' 'If exposed, use prophylaxis,' and 'If infected, see a medical officer.' (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Red-tinted poster (by Charles Casa) features a woman in a feathered hat as she smokes a cigarette and leans against a shadowed brick wall on a street corner, accompanied by the text 'Easy to Get...Syphilis and Gonorrhea,' 1940. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
She may be; a bag of TROUBLE. Syphilis  Gonorrhea. U.S. Public Health Service, United States, 1940s. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
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To reverse these trends, CDC is calling on state and local health departments to refocus efforts in investigating these diseases and improving rapid testing and treatment capabilities. The CDC also recommends that providers make STD screening a standard part of medical care. (Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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