Striking ethnic variations in the epidemiology of Chlamydia trachomatis in Haifa District, Israel, throughout the years 2001–2015

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Our objectives were to examine trends in the incidence of chlamydia over an extended period and compare the epidemiology of the infection between two distinct ethnic groups in Israel: Jews and Arabs. We examined the incidence rate of Chlamydia trachomatis infection among residents of Haifa District, northern Israel from 2001 to 2015, by reviewing archives of the Department of Epidemiology, Ministry of Health. Notified cases were stratified by age group, gender, and ethnic group. The overall incidence rate of Chlamydia was 10.8 cases per 100,000 population per year. The annual rate increased dramatically from 5.1 per 100,000 population in 2001, to an all-time high of 18.5 cases per 100,000 population in 2015 (P < 0.001), representing an increase of 362.7%. The most affected age group was 25–34 years of age. The estimated rate among Jewish inhabitants was ninefold higher than among Arabs. Only 3% recurrent episodes of Chlamydia were registered. The prevalence of HIV positivity among Chlamydia-infected patients was similar to that of the general population. In conclusion, Chlamydia in Haifa has been continuously increasing since 2001 and the infection is much more prevalent among patients of Jewish ethnicity, mainly due to more hazardous sexual practices in this population.

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