(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tofino and Ucluelet distilleries step up with hand sanitizer

Mass supply delivered to emergency operation centres in Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield and Port Alberni.

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Affordable housing project advances in Tofino

Proposal includes 72 units and three duplex townhouses with secondary suites.

Tsunami waves, earthquakes and COVID-19: What if the worst ‘worst’ case scenario hits the Coast?

“All the basic principles still apply here, in terms of community response.”

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

‘Tremendous’ response from blood donors has supply keeping pace with demand

About 400,000 of Canada’s 37 million residents give blood on a regular basis

Morning world update: Cases surge past 600,000; positive news in Germany

Spain suffers its deadliest day as Germany considers April 20 to possibly loosen restrictions

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Most Read