New HSE figures show chlamydia is more common in Limerick than flu or vomiting bug

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent


Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

HSE figures: A total of 1,746 chlamydia cases over four years

HSE figures: A total of 1,746 chlamydia cases over four years

THERE have been more people getting chlamydia in Limerick than the flu and winter vomiting bug combined, according to new HSE figures.

Statistics published by the director of public health Mid-West this week show that there were 1,746 cases of chlamydia trachomatis in Limerick between 2013 and 2017.

The figures have also shown an increase in detections in Limerick since 2013. In 2013, there were 334 cases, which has risen to 410 in 2017.

Chlamydia is a notified infectious disease on the HSE radar. While there is an increase in recorded chlamydia cases, this could mean more patients presenting to clinics, coupled with more tests being conducted.

There were 1,054 cases of genital warts since 2013, though there has been a significant decrease in detections over the four-year period. In 2013, there were 303 cases, which dipped to 168 in 2017.

In the same four years, there were 905 cases of the flu and 303 detections of norovirus, also known as the winter vomiting bug.

The most common type of sexually-transmitted infection (STI) was chlamydia, with a 2,484 cases in Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary. This was followed by genital warts with 1,467 cases, 390 cases of herpes, and 376 cases of gonorrhoea.

The HSE and UL combatted a gonorrhoea outbreak in 2016, in which there were 27 cases, more than a third of the cases detected in Limerick that year. 

“Education is important to help prevent STIs. Key messages include consistent and correct use of condoms and STI screening for those who are at risk of infection,” the HSE said. 

The HSE states that a total of 13,958 people died in the Mid-West between 2013 and 2017. Of that number, 3,991 died from cancer; 4,534 died from a disease of the circulatory system; 1,894 died from respiratory illness; 652 died from “external causes”.

In the report, it warned that there is a “lack of awareness” around the dangers of a powerful strain of E. coli called VTEC, which can “cause severe illness” in children under five and elderly people. Sources of the disease include food and water contamination, infected animals and contaminated environments. Since 2013, there have 79 outbreaks in the Mid-West and a total of 645 notified cases.

The lowest form of infectious diseases were vectorborne and zoonotic diseases - diseases that are caught from parasites (generally mosquitos) and animals, respectively. There were 49 in total.