Epidemiology Teens and Chlamydia Essay

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Epidemiology: Teens & Chlamydia

Epidemiological findings: Teens and chlamydia

Definition and description of Epidemiology of teens and Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis (Van Vranken 2006). Chlamydia is one "is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States" (Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet, 2007, CDC). Its prevalence amongst teens is especially noteworthy. Of the "more than 650,000 cases were reported in 1999, and three of every four reported cases occurred in persons under age 25" (Witmer 2009). The figure, sadly, has only increased: in 2006 a total of 1,030,911 new infections were reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). These startling new statistics were drawn from all of the fifty states as well as the District of Columbia (Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet, 2007, CDC). However, it should be noted that the increase was largely attributed to improved detection and reporting on the part of health care providers. The answer to the question if there is an actual increase in the spread of the disease itself still remains uncertain, although it is certainly possible.

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Chlamydia is passed very easily between sexual partners. Very often it is undetected because the individual may not manifest any symptoms of the ailment. Also, even individuals who are not sexually active can contract chlamydia. While the chlamydia bacteria can be transmitted from one person to another through sexual intercourse, it can also be transmitted through oral-genital contact. Chlamydial eye inflections occur when someone touches bodily fluids that contain the bacteria and then touches his or her eye. Chlamydia can be passed from a mother to her baby while the baby is being delivered (Van Vranken 2006). Even after someone is treated for chlamydia, if their partner is not treated successfully, reinfection is common.

TOPIC: Essay on Epidemiology Teens and Chlamydia Assignment

Chlamydia is a serious infection if left untreated, even if there are no symptoms, not only because it is contagious but because it can have long-term sexual and reproductive health consequences. In girls, chlamydia can cause an infection of the urethra and inflammation of the cervix. This can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes that can cause infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancies later in life. Men can suffer inflammation of the urethra and epididymis, which transports sperm. (Van Vranken 2006).

Steps and methods of epidemiology related to teens and chlamydia

Federal chlamydia screening and prevalence monitoring activities began in 1988. They were first embarked upon by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and the state of Washington. In 1993, screening services for women were expanded to three additional regions and, in 1995 to all remaining areas of the nation. The types of screening criteria and practices used in CDC studies are not uniform: they do vary from state to state and region to region of the nation. However, data from all regions is uniformly compiled as well as compared individually, and all states keep track of the gender and age of persons who have contracted the disease.

Review routine data: Demographics, census, birth, death and surveillance records

According to the CDC's "Surveillance 2006" report on chlamydia, in 2000, for the first time, all fifty states and the District of Columbia had regulations requiring the reporting of chlamydia cases. This suggests that regarding the demographic composition of the groups primarily affected by the disease, data after 2000 is likely to be most reliable. In 2006, for the first time reported cases of chlamydia were said to have exceeded one million, corresponding to a rate of 347.8 cases per 100,000 members of the population, an increase of 5.6% compared with the rate of 329.4 in 2005. As a point of comparison, the reported number of chlamydial infections was almost three times the number of reported cases of gonorrhea.

While during the years 1997-2001, chlamydia rates in the southern region of the United States were slightly higher than in any other region of the country, from the years 2002-2006, overall the numbers leveled throughout midwestern, western, and southern states, remaining lowest in the northeast. (it should be noted once again that post-2000 data is likely to be more comprehensive). In 2006, rates of reported infection increased in the south, west, and northeast (363.3, 357.9, 299.0 cases per 100,000 population, respectively) and remained the same in the midwest (352.4 cases).

Women in their teenage years 15 to 19 years of age reported the highest age-specific rates of chlamydia in 2006 (2,862.7 cases per 100,000 females) followed by women 20 to 24 years of age (2,797.0 cases per 100,000 females) However: "these increased rates in women may, in part, reflect increased screening in this group" (Chlamydia, 2007, Surveillance 2006: CDC). Women in this age group may be more likely to seek out gynecological information regarding birth control or other reproductive health services and discover as a result that they are infected. Age-specific rates among men, while substantially lower than the rates among women, were highest in the 20- to 24-year-old age group (856.9 cases per 100,000 males). The discrepancy between males and females is troubling, according to the CDC, given that "The lower rates among men also suggest that many of the sex partners of women with chlamydia are not being diagnosed or reported as having chlamydia" (Chlamydia, 2007, Surveillance 2006: CDC).

Review research data (medical and health records)

In 2006, the median state-specific chlamydia test positive rate among 15- to 24-year-old women who were screened during visits to selected family planning clinics in all states and outlying areas was 6.7% (range 2.8% to 16.9%). The majority of reported cases originated from health providers located outside of STD clinics although this was most pronounced amongst women. Only 12% of cases amongst females were reported through an STD clinic while 32.7% of male Chlamydia cases were reported through an STD clinic in 2006 (Chlamydia, 2007, Surveillance 2006: CDC).

Review epidemiological data

Numerous prevalence studies in various clinic populations have shown that sexually-active adolescents have high rates of chlamydial infection. The Infertility Prevention Project (IPP) provides routine screening for detecting chlamydial infections among women attending family planning clinics. IPP prevalence data demonstrate that younger women consistently have higher positivity than older women, even when overall prevalence declines" (Special focus profiles: Adolescents and young adults, 2007, Surveillance 2006: CDC). The disease is thus likely to strike women during the years when they are most physically vulnerable and when they are still sexually developing.

Epidemiological Triangle related to teens and chlamydia

The epidemiological triangle is the triangular relationship between risk, agent, and the environment. "Changes in one of the elements of the triangle can influence the occurrence of disease by increasing or decreasing a person's risk for disease" (Epidemiological triangle, 2009). In the case of chlamydia, the agents are sexually active teens who are often too young to fully understand the risk of what they may incur during intercourse. They then contract a disease that many manifest few notable symptoms, or have symptoms that masquerade as urinary tract infections or other more benign conditions. The risk of contracting and spreading the disease is high, given the prevalence of the disorder amongst young men and women. However, requiring doctors to report cases of chlamydia, improved screening and detection have seemed to at least encourage a higher rate of reportage, although there are hints that there is a disturbing trend for males to go undiagnosed, which will lead to further infections and reinfections if these males are sexually active and go untreated.

The environment is one in which, compared to older adults, sexually-active adolescents 10 to 19 years of age and young adults 20 to 24 years of age are at higher risk for acquiring STDs because of barriers to accessing quality STD prevention services,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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