Surging Syphilis Cases: Health Experts Express Concerns

This 1972 microscope image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a Treponema pallidum bacterium which causes the disease syphilis. (Susan Lindsley / CDC via AP)

“Syphilis Surge: A Growing Public Health Concern in North America”

Sub-heading: The Alarming Rise of Syphilis Cases
Syphilis, once considered a disease of the past, has now become a pressing public health issue for doctors across North America. The World Health Organization’s latest report has revealed a startling increase in new cases of syphilis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2020 and 2022, there was a 30% rise in syphilis cases among individuals aged 15 to 49 in the Americas, with North and South America accounting for 42% of all new global cases.

Sub-heading: The Factors Fueling the Surge
Various factors have contributed to this surge in syphilis cases. Monica Alonso, the unit chief for STIs at the Pan American Health Organization, pointed to a lack of awareness, low testing rates, barriers to healthcare, stigma, and an increase in substance use as key factors. Julian Wotherspoon, from Planned Parenthood in Regina, acknowledged the challenge of getting STI test numbers back to pre-pandemic levels after COVID-19 disruptions.

Despite knowing how to identify and treat syphilis, controlling the increasing numbers remains a significant hurdle, as highlighted by Amanda Dela Cruz, a licensed practical nurse with Planned Parenthood Regina. The high rate of syphilis cases in Saskatchewan, compared to the national average, underscores the urgency of addressing this public health crisis.

Sub-heading: The Devastating Impact of Congenital Syphilis
One of the most devastating consequences of surging syphilis cases is the rise in congenital syphilis cases. This transmission from mother to fetus can have severe consequences, including miscarriages, stillbirths, and developmental issues for the baby. Dr. Jared Bullard, a paediatric infectious diseases professor, noted a significant increase in congenital syphilis cases, particularly in the Prairie provinces and territories.

As provinces like Manitoba, B.C., Ontario, and Quebec grapple with this rise in congenital syphilis cases, education and awareness among healthcare providers become crucial. The Canadian Paediatric Society has issued guidelines for investigating and treating infant patients with congenital syphilis, emphasizing the importance of prenatal care and routine testing to curb transmission rates.

In conclusion, the alarming surge in syphilis cases, both in adults and infants, demands urgent action and collaboration among healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public. By raising awareness, improving access to testing and treatment, and prioritizing prenatal care, we can work together to combat the resurgence of this once-thought eradicated disease in North America.”



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