Syphilis on the rise
Concerned people told to talk with healthcare provider
Prince Edward Island continues to see increased cases of infectious syphilis, said chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison.
Since January 2014, the province has been notified of 15 lab confirmed cases of infectious syphilis. The number has been increasing steadily since 2010. From 1987 to 2009 there were only seven cases of syphilis in the province. With the increase, the province said there is concern others who have contracted the disease unknowingly and should be tested.
Syphilis is primarily a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacteria. It is transmitted by unprotected oral, anal and vaginal sex. Early symptoms of infection may include a painless ulcer, rash, fever, swollen or enlarged lymph nodes, hair loss, and headaches. Symptoms may or may not be present. If left untreated, syphilis can cause serious health complications including heart problems, brain damage, blindness and even death.
Anyone who thinks they may be at risk of an STI or are exhibiting symptoms should abstain from unprotected sex and seek medical care. Syphilis is diagnosed with a simple blood test and if caught early can be treated with a single dose of antibiotics. Follow-up testing is very important to ensure that treatment has been successful.
People with concerns are encouraged to talk with their healthcare provider.