Friday, December 19, 2014

Health Dept: St. Louis' No. 1 Rank for Chlamydia Is "Meaningless," Because Statistics

Posted By on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge "Are you sure that's where you should be checking me for chlamydia, doc?" - COM_SALUD VIA FLICKR

St. Louis has climbed its way back on top in an annual federal ranking of cities with the highest rates of chlamydia, but the St. Louis Health Department says the ranking is "meaningless."

Because St. Louis and Baltimore are the only two cities in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that aren't located within a county, comparing those cities with less-dense urban areas is "comparing apples to oranges," the department says in a release.

New numbers from the CDC show St. Louis has the highest rate of chlamydia and the second highest rate of gonorrhea. Last year, St. Louis ranked second for both sexually transmitted infections.

See also: Ridin' Dirty: St. Louis is Still No. 2 in Chlamydia, Gonorrhea Rates

If this feels like deja vu to you, that's because St. Louis has been No. 1 in CDC rankings of STI rates before and has hovered in the top five since 2000. St. Louis was No. 1 per capita in cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in 2006 and 2007.

But the health department says St. Louis' rates for chlamydia fell 23 percent since 2011, and rates for gonorrhea fell 33 percent since 2011. Health director Pam Walker says St. Louis should rank No. 15 for chlamydia, No. 13 for gonorrhea and No. 33 for syphilis.

Here's how the numbers break down, via the CDC:

St. Louis has the highest rates for chlamydia in the country after 1,297.4 cases were diagnosed per 100,000 people. There were 4,128 new cases in St. Louis and 5,211 cases in St. Louis County.

St. Louisans contracted gonorrhea this year at a rate of 551.3 cases per 100,000, resulting in 1,754 new cases in the city. St. Louis County caught gonorrhea at a much slower rate than the city -- 173.3 cases per 100,000 -- with a total of 1,734 new cases this year.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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