The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports an Iowa resident has died as a result of a rare complication from a common sexually transmitted disease. The patient, whose age and place of residence were not released, was diagnosed with disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI), in which the bacteria that caused gonorrhea spreads throughout the body. In most cases, patients with DGI fully recover with treatment, but the systemic infection was fatal in this particular case. Since 2015, the number of reported gonorrhea diagnoses has more than doubled in Iowa with over 4,800 cases reported just last year. State health officials are unsure what has caused the increase, but suggest improved access to healthcare and testing and/or increased transmission are the most likely reasons for the rise. The department says this tragic case emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis and treatment in order to prevent adverse health outcomes and additional transmission of the disease. For more information on gonorrhea and surveillance data from the IDPH, follow the link included with this story on our website.