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PLoS One. 2018 Mar 23;13(3):e0194203. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194203. eCollection 2018.

Shale gas activity and increased rates of sexually transmitted infections in Ohio, 2000-2016.

Author information

1
Yale School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, New Haven, CT, United States of America.
2
McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
3
Yale School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics, New Haven, CT, United States of America.
4
Yale School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases, New Haven, CT, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The growing shale gas ("fracking") industry depends on a mobile workforce, whose influx could have social impacts on host communities. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can increase through sexual mixing patterns associated with labor migration. No prior studies have quantified the relationship between shale gas activity and rates of three reportable STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

METHODS:

We conducted a longitudinal, ecologic study from 2000-2016 in Ohio, situated in a prolific shale gas region in the United States (US). Data on reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis by county and year were obtained from the Ohio Department of Health. All 88 counties were classified as none, low, and high shale gas activity in each year, using data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Annual rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated from mixed-effects Poisson regression models evaluating the relationship between shale gas activity and reported annual STI rates while adjusting for secular trends and potential confounders obtained from the US Census.

RESULTS:

Compared to counties with no shale gas activity, counties with high activity had 21% (RR = 1.21; 95%CI = 1.08-1.36) increased rates of chlamydia and 19% (RR = 1.27; 95%CI 0.98-1.44) increased rates of gonorrhea, respectively. No association was observed for syphilis.

CONCLUSION:

This first report of a link between shale gas activity and increased rates of both chlamydia and gonorrhea may inform local policies and community health efforts.

PMID:
29570712
PMCID:
PMC5865738
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0194203
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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