(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

Dragon boaters being sought for a new team in Ladysmith

Men and women just need to bring along their enthusiasm and dedication

Police encourage the public to register their bicycles

It helps to have pictures, make and model in the recovery process from thefts

UPDATED with VIDEO and PHOTOS: One person treated for minor burns in Crofton fire Monday morning

Firefighters were called out at 7 a.m. to a blaze at the Twin Gables Motel

Public engagement on North Cowichan forest reserve begins this month

Consulting firm presents engagement plan at North Cowichan council meeting

SD79 finalizes $106-million budget for 2019-20

$2.1-million increase in revenue from previous year

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Most Read