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slides: The 25 Biggest Diseases To Strike Rhode Island

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


What infectious diseases hit Rhode Island the hardest, and in the biggest numbers? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has just released its latest data for "notifiable diseases," defined as those infectious diseases "for which regular, frequent, and timely information regarding individual cases is considered necessary for the prevention and control of the disease," according to the CDC. The latest data in the July, 2013, reports the number of cases in RI from 2011.

Top 10 dominated by STDs

In Rhode Island, sexually transmitted diseases consitutued a majority of the cases; chlamydia ranked #1 in 2011, followed by gonorrhea at #2 and syphilis at #7. Cases of HIV diagnosis ranked #6. Local experts were not surprised at the prevalence of STDs in Rhode Island's data. "We are seeing increasing cases of sexually transmitted diseases in Rhode Island," said Philip A. Chan, M.D., an HIV/AIDS specialist at The Miriam Hospital. "Although rates of HIV are steady, individuals with gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis have increased compared to several years ago."

Chan said these STDs affect people of all ages and racial/ethnic backgrounds in Rhode Island. HIV and syphilis, though, "is most predominant among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men," he said.

"What’s troubling about the increase in rate of gonorrhea now is the appearance in the US of strains that are resistant to some anti-microbials," said Jenny Carrillo, Senior Vice President of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. "The appearance of the antimicrobial resistant strains makes it imperative to identify and treat gonorrhea early."

Brenna Anderson, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the Integrated Program for High Risk Pregnancy, Women & Infants Hospital, pointed out that it's unclear whether the STDs are on the rise or whether we are doing a better job of testing for them and reporting them. "Regardless, testing and treating those at risk is a major goal of STD control," she said. "The other is advocating condom use to minimize the transmission of STDs." 

See all the Top 25 diseases to strike Rhode Island, below.

Note: Data on hepatitis B virus, perinatal infection, and chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C virus infection (past or present) are not included because they are undergoing data quality review, according to the CDC.


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