(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

First Energy Metals set to start gold exploration work in the West Kootenay

The work will be conducted at two of its sites near Nakusp and Nelson

Flooding: Why the RDCK ordered hundreds of properties evacuated

All evacuation orders have now been rescinded

No immediate threat of flooding in Nakusp area: RDCK official

High water levels have been reported near Burton and Edgewood last weekend

Nakusp Hot Springs campground opens to RVs today

No tenting will be permitted at the campground at this time

Evacuation orders for Duhamel, Salmo-Ymir and Crawford Creek rescinded

RDCK warns public that streams are still dangerous

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Vancouver Island school principal mourns brother, cousin killed during U.S. protests

Jelks says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in the wake of this tragedy

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Most Read