COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

The gonorrhea rate is rising in north Idaho at a time when health officials have few effective antibiotic drugs still able to treat the disease.

Twenty-seven cases of gonorrhea have been reported in the five northern counties of Idaho this year. That is more than three times the eight cases reported at this time last year.

The Panhandle Health District says officials thought they had conquered the disease, which is growing more and more drug resistant.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria.

The health district says the best protection is abstinence or a mutually monogamous relationship.