Winnipeg Experiencing Worst Syphilis Outbreak In City’s History

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says it is experiencing the worst and fastest-spreading outbreak of infectious syphilis recorded in the city. The region has recorded 60 syphilis cases in the first 10 months of this year, up from 40 cases the same time last year, the medical officer of health said in a bulletin to health-care providers. There were fewer than three cases a year in the 1990s, the health authority said. Following an outbreak that ended in 2008, the city had experienced about three cases every four months, the health authority said. There has been an average of six new cases per month in 2014 (to the end of September). Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. This is the city’s third outbreak since 2000. There were three new cases reported each month at the height of the previous two outbreaks. Most cases are being diagnosed in men who have sex with men and about one-third are in people who are HIV positive, the health region said. There have been reports of increasing numbers of syphilis cases in major Canadian cities from Halifax to Vancouver.

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