I Know What You Have Been Doing This Summer

In 2011, approximately 1.4 million cases of Chlamydia trachomatis infections were reported, the largest number of cases ever reported to CDC for any condition.

via Summary of Notifiable Diseases — United States, 2011.

In case you missed it, and it’s right up above here, that is the largest number of cases for any disease the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks. That includes West Nile virus, anthrax, dengue fever, all the favorites.

And to be exact, that’s 1,412,791 disappointed trudges out of a doctor’s office, corresponding to about one out of every 200 people in the country. That rate is up 8 percent, and it has been wriggling in petri dishes and up the charts since the 1980s.

The thing is, docs aren’t sure what’s behind it. Other than, well, you know.

They suppose it could be that more people are getting tested, or that the tests are getting better, or even that more doctors are on the lookout and therefore are reporting more cases. But, the government’s zombie watchdogs said, it could just be that more people are getting it.

What’s worse, we’ve buried the lede here. Clamidia Chlamydia may be hard to spell, but it is no joke. There are no symptoms, according to doctors, and if left untreated it leads to all kinds of problems, especially for women. Things like ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Real third-world stuff.

To that you can probably add ovarian and cervical cancer. Researchers last month determined that chlamydia infections can tear up your DNA, and that increases your cancer risk. It all helps to fill in the blanks when trying to explain well-known correlations between chlamydia and cancer.

Still, it’s not all bad. At least people are still looking into these things.

Last month, researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio discovered a quirk in the chlamydia bacterium that may lead to better ways to diagnose and treating the disease. As one scientist put it, probably after looking down his glasses taking a long pull from his pipe, the chlamydia bacterium “is very odd indeed.”