Alaska sees 31 percent increase in gonorrhea cases

ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services says the state is experiencing an outbreak of gonorrhea, part of a national increase in the disease.

Alaska’s reported cases climbed from 1,115 in 2015 to 1,454 in 2016.

That’s a 31 percent increase and the problem has not abated in 2017.

The department reports 1,035 cases this year. More than half were in Anchorage and nearly 60 percent were in people age 29 or younger.

Untreated gonorrhea can cause infertility, pregnancy complications and other serious health problems.

The department says any sexually active person can get gonorrhea by having unprotected sex with an infected partner.

Gonorrhea is curable with proper medication. The department says sexually active people should use condoms and regularly get tested for gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases.