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State Health Leaders Meet In Fresno To Tackle Chlamydia Epidemic

Diana Aguilera
Fresno County has the second highest rate of chlamydia among young women, ages 15-24, in California.

Today state health officials arrived in Fresno for a four day meeting to tackle what local leaders are calling a chlamydia epidemic.

In a rare occasion, the state department of public health sent a team of experts to Fresno. They’re meeting with local health providers in hopes of reducing the alarming rates of chlamydia, especially in teens and young adults.

“Fresno County is a hot spot for chlamydia and for reproductive and sexual health in general,” says Heidi Bauer, a doctor with the Department of Public Health.

The county has the second highest rate of chlamydia in the state, with more than half of the cases among 15-24 years old. State health officials are teaming up with local doctors to help improve the process of screening people especially teens for chlamydia.

“We know it’s an epidemic," says Brent Feudale, a pediatrician at UCSF Fresno. "We know that chlamydia came roaring back and it keeps increasing. We know that syphilis is coming back and so we’re not only trying to address this issue but also figure out ways to prevent.”

Doctors say there are many cases that are not reported because people often show no symptoms and do not seek testing. If not treated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal factor infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain in women.

After the meeting ends Friday, the state plans to hire someone based in Fresno to continue working with local providers on this issue. 

Diana Aguilera is a multimedia reporter native of Santiago, Chile. It was during her childhood in Santiago where her love for journalism sparked. Diana moved to Fresno while in her teens and is a proud graduate of California State University, Fresno. While earning her degree in journalism and minor in Latin American studies, Diana worked for the Fresno Bee. Her work as a general assignment reporter continued after college and was recognized by the California Newspaper Publishers Association. In 2014, she joined Valley Public Radio. Her hobbies include yoga, traveling and reading.