*Rate per 100,000 population based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s population data as of July 1, 2003
In 2003, the Indiana State Department of Health received 6,596 reports of patients who tested positive for Neisseria gonorrhea, the causative agent of gonorrhea. This sum translates to a crude rate of 107 per 100,000 Indiana residents, an 11 percent decrease from 2002 (120). Figure 1 shows the number of cases per year for 1999-2003.
The number of cases among women exceeded that of men in 2003. Of cases with known gender, 3,563 female cases were reported, and 3,001 male cases were reported. This gender disparity is consistent with that found in the previous year. In 2003, the
sex-specific rate was 113 per 100,000 females and 99 per 100,000 males. In terms of gonococcal infections, women were overrepresented with respect to their percentage of Indiana’s population. Compared with men, greater morbidity among women may be attributable to higher infection rates among females, a greater number of tests among women, or other factors.
In 2003, more cases were reported among blacks than among all other racial groups combined. Of gonorrhea cases with known race, 3,996 (61%) were classified as black, while 1,484 (23%) cases were classified as white. The race-specific rate for blacks (754) was higher than that for whites (27). Of the total number of cases reported in 2003, 14 percent (983) were of unknown race. The disparity among races may be attributable to higher infection rates among blacks, underreporting of gonorrhea among whites, or other factors.
The preponderance of gonorrhea cases was among adolescents and young adults (Figure 2). In 2003, 1,817 cases were reported among those 10-19 years of age, and 3,331 cases were reported among those 20-29 years of age; together, these two groups comprised 78 percent of total reported cases. Those 10-39 years of age accounted for 92 percent of all reports.
The four counties with the greatest number of reported gonorrhea cases were Marion (3,127), Lake (734), Allen (648), and St. Joseph (464). Adjusting for population size, Marion County had the highest incidence rate (362), followed by Allen County (191), St. Joseph County (174), and Lake County (151). Figure 3 shows Indiana counties with five or more reported cases of gonorrhea.
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