Sexually Transmitted Disease

Public health officials in the Northwest say they're seeing gonorrhea infections at levels they haven't seen in years. Three counties in Washington state are now in the midst of an outbreak. Parts of Oregon and Idaho are set to top even last year's high numbers.

Public health officials in the Northwest say a series of gonorrhea outbreaks shows little sign of letting up. In fact, in some places, rates of the STD may be getting worse.

In an effort to stop a spate of gonorrhea outbreaks, at least one public health department in the Pacific Northwest is offering a helpful service to infected patients: anonymous notification of former sexual partners.

That's right. A government worker will track down and contact each ex for you. Awkward for all concerned? Yes. But at a time when gonorrhea is becoming stubbornly drug-resistant, health officials see it as time — and embarrassment — well spent.

Health officials across the Northwest are trying to figure out why they’re seeing a big upswing in the number of people with gonorrhea this year.