THE detection rate for hidden sexually-transmitted disease chlamydia in girls in Blackburn with Darwen almost doubled in a year, according to new figures.

A report from Public Health director Dominic Harrison revealed that for residents aged 15 to 24 the number of such infections rose from 1,854 per 100,000 in 2014 to 2,820 per 100,000 close to the national NHS target of 2,200.

The detection rate in girls for chlamydia, which often has no symptoms and can cause infertility and cervical cancer, almost doubled from 2,226 per 1,000 to 4,536.

In the report Mr Harrison said: “This may be the result of targeted work with hard-to-reach groups and the training of peer educators and sexual health ambassadors.”

The study was submitted to Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive board.

He said: “Within the borough, over the past five years, the rate of gonorrhoea diagnosis increased, the rate of herpes diagnosis slightly dropped, diagnosis of syphilis remained fairly even and diagnosis of genital warts has decreased.”

It revealed in 2015 1,163 new sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) were diagnosed among borough residents, 45 per cent in young people aged 15 to 24.

The report also shows that between 2011 and 2015 6.9 per cent of women and seven per cent of men presenting with an STI became reinfected within 12 months indicating persistent risky behaviour’.

However between 1998 and 2014 Blackburn with Darwen had seen a 65 per cent drop in teenage pregnancies from 58.2 per 1,000 young women to 20.4. The national reduction in England was 51 per cent.

The number of abortions in the borough in 2015 was 539, 22 per cent of women having the operation had previously had a termination.

Mr Harrison’s report was submitted as the executive board adopted a new three year Blackburn with Darwen Integrated Sexual Health Strategy for 2017 to 2020.

It outlines action to step up education for young people, improve services for 25 to 49-year-olds, improve follow up treatment, improve HIV screening and diagnosis and further improve diagnosis for STIs especially chlamydia,

Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan said: “This is an important areas, diagnosis, education and treatment are crucial.”

Mr Harrison’s report also calls for a drive to secure earlier diagnosis of HIV.