According to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, in the first half of 2018, the syphilis rates passed over 120 confirmed cases, a figure exceeding the annual incidence recorded over the past three years. The recent infectious syphilis outbreak in Winnipeg, Canada, raised concerns among the local health authorities which already consider educating the people at risk about the harmfulness of this sexually transmitted disease.
“This year is the highest [syphilis incidence] we’ve ever seen. And if you go back to 2008, we had less than a dozen,” stated Dr. Pierre Plourde from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. The expert also said that the rates of this sexually transmitted disease are continuously increasing since 2012.
However, “that is a bit unusual, as it is increasing at a phenomenal rate,” Dr. Plourde added.
Newborns diagnosed with syphilis for the first time in the history of Winnipeg
Besides the worries triggered by the so-called syphilis outbreak in Winnipeg, the local health authorities also diagnosed, for the first time in the Canadian town’s history, newborns with syphilis.
According to Dr, Plourde, the local specialists can’t find another similar situation in Winnipeg over the whole 50 years period of monitoring and counting the cases of this sexually transmitted disease.
“It was unheard of, and now we’ve had a handful,” said Plourde.
Unusually, the syphilis outbreak in Winnipeg seems to affect more heterosexuals
A significant contributor to the syphilis transmission was homosexuality, historically speaking. However, the recent situation is different as it appears that more straight men and women then gays are diagnosed with syphilis.
However, that’s not “what’s fuelling the increase,” said Pierre Plourde, as about 20-30 percent of the infected people are addicted to crystal meth, according to the local health authorities.
The authorities say that general public is not threatened by this syphilis outbreak that hit Winnipeg, as well as other regions across Manitoba province. Also, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority recommends people to avoid unprotected sex with unknown partners and to report to the nearest hospital if present symptoms such as painless ulcerations in the genitals area, maculopapular rash, or increased lymph nodes.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by subspecies of the Treponema pallidum bacteria and which can cause lethal brain damage if untreated.