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Iowa Sees Recent Spike in Gonorrhea Cases

IOWA  --  The number of gonorrhea cases in Iowa has spiked in the past four years.

The Iowa Department of Health reports 3,600 cases of gonorrhea last year. This is a 145% increase from 2013. Approximately 80% of the new cases were people between the ages of 15 and 34.

STD program manager George Walton says the increase may be, in part, from being a more mobile society and an increase in testing. He said Iowans need to protect themselves with condoms and get tested if they may be at risk.

"When you have an STD and it's not treated properly, it can cause some serious long term complications. For gonorrhea, it can spread throughout your body and get into your blood stream and in some serious cases cause death. More commonly we see it localized to the productive track, which can lead to things like infertility or difficulty getting pregnant in the future if you're a female," Walton said.

According to Walton, not all patients will show symptoms, and it's important to be honest with doctors if you're at risk for an STD.