County chlamydia cases on the rise

STDs a problem, health official says

By Kevin Spradlin

ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County might need to go back to school for lessons on safe sex.

Tommy Jarrell, county health director, briefed the County Commissioners Monday night during the board’s regular monthly public meeting. The number of chlamydia cases has skyrocketed to 331 from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 — an increase of 136 from the 195 cases reported the previous year.

Tommy Jarrell

Tommy Jarrell

Jarrell provided the commissioners the Richmond County Health Department’s annual communicable disease report. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) increased in syphillis, too, to two last year from zero the year before.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, chlamydia is the most commonly reported STD in the United States and “although easy to cure, chlamydia can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant if left untreated.”

Click here for a fact sheet on signs and symptoms.

Jarrell said both the county and state health officials have action plans when someone is diagnosed with an STD. A health department representative “makes one-on-one contact with the individual,” Jarrell said, in an effort o determine how the disease might have been prevented “but also to find (sexual) partners” of the individual affected.

The department offers testing and sometimes issues isolation orders “for that person, that may or may not work,” Jarrell said. “Everything that has a sexually transmitted disease … whether we see the person, we’re going to be making contact.”

Outgoing Commissioner Daryl Mason, who has been filling the unexpired term of former Commissioner Jimmy Maske since July, asked Jarrell if there was a primary age group, paying special attention to the high school-aged group. Jarrell said the age group just beyond high school, ages 19-20, was the primary problem area, with the high schoolers in the second-most problem area.

The number of gonorrhea cases have remained about the same, reported at 56 for each of the past two years, 61 cases in 2011-12, 68 in 2010-11 and 71 in 2009-10. Prior to that, the county averaged 157.3 cases of gonorrhea each year.

There has been one case of HIV reported in each of the past two years, according to the Richmond County Health Department. There were none reported in 2011-12, one in 2010-11, two in 2009-10 and an average of 14.3 cases over the previous three-year period.



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