(Pxhere photo)

B.C. recommends increased syphilis testing during pregnancy, as infection rates spike

Two cases of congenital syphilis were diagnosed in B.C. in 2019, after no cases for many years.

The province is seeing its highest rates of infectious syphilis in 30 years, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

In new figures released Monday, the agency said cases of infectious syphilis rose by 33 per cent in 2018, compared with 2017. There were 919 new cases in 2018.

The majority of people with syphilis in B.C. are gay, bisexual, or otherwise are men having sex with men, although cases of syphilis in women ages 15 to 49 rose by nearly 40 per cent between 2018 and 2017.

“After seeing syphilis infections decrease for several years, rates of syphilis began to climb again earlier this decade,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “We are currently working with our partners to see what more we can do to reduce the number of infections but we also need the public to be aware of the risk and to be proactive about testing and treatment.”

The increase in syphilis cases among women has led the CDC to change their pregnancy screening guidelines. This means that in addition to routine screening during the first trimester pregnancy, and ongoing screening throughout for higher risk patients, it’s now recommended that all pregnant patients get tested again just before they give birth.

Babies born to mothers with syphilis can get congenital syphilis, where the infection is passed from mother to child. Syphilis during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, long-term neurological issues, bone deformities, deafness, or even stillbirth.

Two cases of congenital syphilis were diagnosed in B.C. in 2019, after no cases for many years.

READ MORE: Removing the stigma: CDC wants you to talk about sex as STIs continue to surge in B.C.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

Sex workers march in downtown Victoria for Red Umbrella Day

Red umbrellas became a symbol of sex workers after an art installation in Italy

MLA Adam Olsen calls for ‘substantial’ changes in provincial economy

Green Party MLA also criticizes gap between government rhetoric and actions

Saanich Police praise altruistic local for donating hand-knitted toques

Saanich police officers dropped the toques off at two youth shelters

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read