After several years of increases, the number of chlamydia cases dropped in 2013. However, gonorrhea and syphilis infections in the region continued to climb, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced yesterday.

Last year, the number of chlamydia cases dropped by 4 percent—from 16,538 cases in 2012 to 16,042 in 2013.


“A decline in chlamydia cases was reported for the first time in several years, and that is good news for San Diego County,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “However, this is just a one-year drop. Sexually active individuals should continue to take precautionary measures to avoid getting infected with chlamydia and other STDs, especially since gonorrhea and syphilis cases went up.”

The number of gonorrhea cases jumped by 10 percent, with the increase coming largely among men. There were 2,597 cases in 2012, compared to 2,865 last year. Women account for less than a third of the total cases of gonorrhea reported in the county.

Primary and secondary syphilis cases (considered the most infectious) also increased by 4 percent, from 333 cases in 2012 to 347 cases last year. The vast majority of these cases occurred in men.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused the bacterium, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This bacterium can infect the genital tract, mouth and rectum of both men and women. 

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium, Treponema pallidum. The most common way to get syphilis is by having sexual contact (oral, genital or anal) with an infected person. The secondary lesions are also infective and contactwith them could transmit the bacteria. It can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby (congenital transmission).

The most common bacterial STI, Chlamydia is the most commonly reported notifiable disease in the United States. Known as the “silent” infection because it is so often asymptomatic, untreated Chlamydia an carry some serious complications to include  pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is a major cause of infertility,ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page