October 18, 1996 in Nation/World

Sexually-Transmitted Chlamydia Was Most Common Disease Last Year

Associated Press

Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted infection tracked across the country for the first time last year, was the most common infectious disease plaguing Americans in 1995, the government said Thursday.

Gonorrhea and AIDS came in second and third on the annual list, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There were not a lot of surprises here,” said Dr. Denise Koo, a CDC medical epidemiologist. “But I think it backs up our message about safe sex. People need to be careful about their sexual activity.”

In 1995, there were 477,638 reported cases of chlamydia, a parasite that often has no symptoms but, if left untreated, can lead to infertility and tubal pregnancies. This is the first year state epidemiologists decided to include it in the national report.

Gonorrhea, the most commonly reported disease in 1994, fell to the No. 2 spot with 392,848 cases in the United States last year, compared to 418,068 cases in 1994.

AIDS, No. 2 last year, also dropped with 71,547 cases reported in 1995, compared with 78,279 cases the year before, the report said.

Those three, plus syphilis and hepatitis B, accounted for 87 percent of the total number of cases caused by the top 10 maladies, the report said.

Chlamydia was more commonly reported among women, striking 383,956 last year, while gonorrhea and AIDS were reported more by men, with 203,563 and 58,007 cases respectively.

“AIDS has, from the beginning, been more commonly reported among men so that is not a large surprise,” Koo said.

Salmonella poisoning and a painful bowel infection called shigellosis were the most common germs infecting children younger than 5. Tuberculosis was tops among those 65 and older.

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