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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at

Disease Rates Increasing in South Dakota

A state health official says over the past ten years, he’s seen overall improvements in the health of South Dakotans. But State Epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger says between 2004 and 2014 infectious disease cases have nearly doubled in the state.

State Epidemiologist Doctor Lon Kightlinger says in 2004 there were about 3,900 cases of disease in South Dakota and about 7,500 in 2014. He says the higher numbers are driven largely by increases in STD’s, as well as Hepatitis C, whooping cough, and intestinal illnesses.  
“Now drilling down into some of the specific diseases, there has been 141% increase in gonorrhea in South Dakota,” Kightlinger says. “Going back ten years ago from 351 cases to over 800 cases this past year. An over 1,000% increase in syphilis, a 147% increase in Hepatitis C cases, a 167% increase in MRSA.”
Kightlinger says officials at the Department of Health work to identify who’s been in contact with the infected person, so that they can help figure out who else may have the disease.