South Dakota's rising infectious disease rates

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PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Sexually transmitted disease rates are up in South Dakota, as are figures for other infectious diseases. Here's a breakdown of some of the most substantial increases from the South Dakota Health and Disease Summary through April 2014.

SYPHILIS

There have 43 cases of this sexually transmitted infection in the first four months of this year, most of which are found in the central portion of the state. The 25-39 age bracket is primarily affected, with 15-24-year-olds a close second. The rate is up more than 1,000 percent compared to the 5-year median.

SHIGELLA

The rate of increase for this disease which typically affects children is also up more than 1,000 percent compared to the 5-year median. State Epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger said outbreaks of this illness come in waves every five to six years. It causes diarrhea, mostly affects children under 14 and is spread by those who may not wash their hands or have good toilet hygiene. There are 263 cases through April this year. Officials logged 190 cases for all of 2013.

WHOOPING COUGH

Pertussis, which is also called Whooping Cough because it causes violent coughing, is on the rise nationally. Incidences have increased 156 percent so far this year compared to the 5-year median. Kightlinger said the 23 cases so far this year in South Dakota this year are too many for a preventable disease. There are vaccines available for pertussis. Students who don't attend school aren't held to the vaccine requirement, Kightlinger said, and as children get older the vaccine can lose effectiveness.

CHLAMYDIA

Kightlinger said Chlamydia infections have been an ongoing problem for the state. Chlamydia infections have the highest rate in the state's April report, with a total of 1,388 cases. Two thirds of those infections are among 15-24-year-olds. The figures are up 18 percent compared to the 5-year median.

HIV/AIDS

Infection rates of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the later stage of the illness, AIDS, are up 129 percent from the 5-year median. The initial figures are relatively small, which inflates the percentage. There are 16 cases so far this year. Historically, the cases of HIV in the state have been concentrated in Minnehaha and Pennington Counties.

GONORRHEA

Gonorrhea rates are up 30 percent compared to the 5-year median. The sexually transmitted infection currently affects 30 of every 100,000 South Dakotan.

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