Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Infectious Diseases


Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea often goes undiagnosed because many infected people have no symptoms or have symptoms not recognized to be caused by gonorrhea. It is common for people with gonorrhea to be infected with chlamydia at the same time. In recent years, gonorrhea has become resistant to the last class of drugs previously used to treat it, therefore the treatment guidelines in Ontario have changed as of 2013. For more information, see the health unit's fact sheet on gonorrhea. The health unit offers confidential sexual health clinics in six locations for counseling, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.

Simcoe Muskoka
By Age Group
By Sex
Technical Notes

Simcoe Muskoka

The following graph shows the number of gonorrhea cases in Simcoe Muskoka between 2000 and 2021. Between 2000 and 2013, there were between 21 and 68 cases of gonorrhea reported every year in Simcoe Muskoka. Starting in fall 2013, there has been a significant increase in the reported incidence of gonorrhea in Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario. The proportion of positive tests at public health labs has also increased during this time indicating that this is unlikely due to increased testing. Antibiotic resistance may be contributing to this increase. In 2021, 265 cases of gonorrhea were reported to Simcoe Muskoka. The most commonly reported risk factors among local gonorrhea cases are:

  • No condom use
  • Multiple partners in past six months
  • New partner in past two months
  • Anonymous sex



The following graph shows age-standardized incidence rates (ASIR) of gonorrhea in Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario between 2005 and 2021. The ASIR of gonorrhea in Simcoe Muskoka is lower than the Ontario rate. For 2021, the ASIR in Simcoe Muskoka was 47.3 cases per 100,000 population. There has been a significant increase in gonorrhea incidence in Ontario and locally in Simcoe Muskoka since September 2013. In Ontario, the ASIR of gonorrhea for 2021 was 66.8 cases per 100,000 population. At the provincial level, there was an increase in the proportion of cases reporting “anonymous sex in addition to the risk factors reported by local cases (see Simcoe Muskoka section).


Age Group

The graph below shows the age-specific incidence rates of gonorrhea in Simcoe Muskoka between 2000 and 2021. The highest rate is among 25-39 year olds which has increased sharply in recent years to 119.4 cases per 100,000 population, surpassing the incidence in 15-24 year-olds which was 81.5 cases per 100,000 population in 2021.



The following graph shows the sex-specific incidence rates of gonorrhea in Simcoe Muskoka from 2000 to 2021. In contrast to chlamydia, the incidence rate of gonorrhea in males has been consistently higher than the rate in females since 2013. This may in part be due to a larger percentage of males infected with gonorrhea experience symptoms, prompting more infected males to seek testing. In 2021, the incidence rate of gonorrhea for females in Simcoe Muskoka was 30.5 cases per 100,000 population, while the male-specific incidence rate was nearly double at 55.5 cases per 100,000 population. Both male- and female-specific rates have tripled since 2013.


More detailed data for Ontario and each health unit can be found on Public Health Ontario’s interactive Reportable Disease Trends in Ontario tool.

Technical Notes

There are many factors that influence how many cases are reported to the health unit, as explained on the Infectious Diseases page. It is unclear to what extent the global COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the reporting and spread of other infectious diseases – counts and rates of disease since 2020 should be interpreted with caution.

The incidence rate of gonorrhea varies significantly between age groups so standardization is necessary to compare rates between two populations. For example, the highest incidence rate of gonorrhea is found among 25-39 year-olds and Simcoe Muskoka may have a different proportion of people in this age group than Ontario, so both rates must be applied to a standard population to make comparisons.

Page last updated August 19, 2022