Minnesota health officials on Thursday said they're alarmed by the high number of sexually-transmitted disease cases reported in the state in 2010.
The number of Chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea cases reached a high of 17,760 last year, the Minnesota Department of Health said. There were more cases of chlamydia than any other disease, reaching a record of 15,294 cases.
"Not only does this total represent a 6 percent increase from the previous year, it's the highest number of cases ever recorded in Minnesota in a single year since we began tracking chlamydia back in 1986," Peter Carr, manager of the STD and HIV Section for the health department, said in a written statement.
Syphilis cases rose to a 30-year high of 347 cases last year, a 62 percent increase from 2009, according to the health department report.
Untreated chlamydia can lead to infertility, and an infected woman can pass the infection to her newborn child. Untreated syphilis can lead to blindness, mental illness, dementia and death.
According to the health department data, about 70 percent of Chlamydia cases occurred in teens and young adults ages 15 to 24.
Carr said it often goes unnoticed, leading to serious health consequences later.
Gonorrhea remained the second most commonly reported STD in Minnesota, with 2,119 cases in 2010. Health officials said it was a nearly 9 percent decrease compared to 2009. It has decreased by 36 percent over the last five years, the health department said.
But Carr said officials are concerned about it disproportionally affecting certain communities. Health department data showed about 77 percent of gonorrhea cases occurred within the seven-county Twin Cities area, and African-Americans had the highest rates gonorrhea infection.
Health officials said people who are sexually active should get tested for STDs each year, even if they don't have symptoms.
More information about the health department STD report is available here.