ST. PAUL  (AP) - A new report from state health officials says the number of sexually transmitted diseases has climbed to a new record in Minnesota.

The Department of Health says there were 19,547 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2011, an increase of about 1,500 from the previous year.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger says STDs remain a serious health threat if not detected and treated early. Health officials say untreated chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility in women and men and can be passed from an infected woman to her newborn children. It can cause premature delivery, infant pneumonia and blindness.

Doctors say untreated syphilis can cause blindness, mental illness, dementia and death. And if gonorrhea goes untreated, it can spread to organs and joints leading to life threatening conditions.

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