Surveillance report Open Access
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Genital Chlamydia trachomatis (GCT) infection is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Ireland. A retrospective analysis of 2,087 laboratory-confirmed GCT patient episodes from 2001 to 2006 in the Mid-West of Ireland was undertaken in conjunction with statutorily notifiable data that were reported by the Sexually Transmitted Disease/Genito-Urinary Medicine (STD/GUM) services in the region and used in national surveillance. Data were analysed by year, source, sex and age. The annual incidence of GCT in the Mid-West is increasing. A substantial proportion of GCT infections were diagnosed in the non-STD/GUM setting. The issue of sexually active young people seeking STI screening is a sensitive one, and delays increase the potential for transmission and the possibility of long-term complications when the disease is not treated. Based on this sample, national surveillance would significantly underestimate the burden of disease in Ireland, due to under-reporting. This would have implications for any national chlamydia screening programme. Among those who sought testing, women aged 15 to 19 years are five times more likely to be found positive than men in the same age group. Of those diagnosed in the non-STD/GUM setting, 83% were women. General practitioners and clinicians might consider targeting those aged 15 to 29 years for opportunistic screening and sexual health advice. Contact tracing and follow-up in the non-STD/GUM setting, as well as access for general practitioners to ongoing education on STIs are challenges to be addressed.


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