Los Angeles County health officials blame an outbreak of penicillin-resistant gonorrhea on an increase in unsafe sexual practices, prostitution and drug abuse.
Through October, the county had 1,193 reported cases of penicillin-resistant gonorrhea, 57 fewer cases than at the same time last year but more than half of them showing up from July through September. In October alone, the county reported 271 cases.
This clustering of cases signals a sudden outbreak, health official said. Compton was one of the hardest hit communities, with 136 cases for the July-September period.
“This is very disturbing,” said Bob Salcido, Long Beach Health Department epidemiologist. “This shows that people’s sexual behavior patterns aren’t changing.”
The county now treats all patients infected with gonorrhea with ceftriaxone, a non-penicillin antibiotic, officials said. If left untreated in women, gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and render them sterile. In men, the disease can trigger complications in the prostate gland, the urethra and the bladder.