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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Local numbers reflect national trend

Mirroring a national trend, chlamydia cases continued to climb in Spokane last year, although Washington state saw a dip in reports of the most common sexually transmitted disease.

Cases of chlamydia jumped to 1,121 in Spokane in 2006, up from 1,071 a year earlier, according to figures from the state Department of Health.

Statewide, the numbers fell slightly to 17,819, down from 18,617 – good news for health officials hoping to reverse a rising trend.

“We’re not on the same steep curve as we were seeing, and we’re not seeing the same steep curve as we’re seeing nationally,” said Mark Stenger, Washington’s epidemiologist for STDs.

He attributed that to the state’s early emphasis on screening and prevention.

In Washington, about 280 of every 100,000 people reported chlamydia in 2006, down from nearly 298 in 2005 – and far lower than the national rate of 349 people per 100,000.

In Spokane, the chlamydia rate last year was 252 per 100,000 people, up from 245 per 100,000 in 2005.

Cases of gonorrhea, however, rose in Washington, climbing to 4,231 in 2006, up from 3,738. In Spokane, the cases stayed steady at 27.

Syphilis cases rose to 182 statewide, up from 152 in 2005. However, the Spokane Regional Health District, which logged five cases of syphilis in 2006, already had recorded 10 cases of the disease in the first nine months of this year, said Stacy Wenzl, an epidemiologist.

Better screening is the key to detecting and preventing chlamydia and the other diseases, noted Dr. Kim Thorburn, medical director of Planned Parenthood, which is the largest reporter of STDs to the health district.

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