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Manitoba Experiencing Syphilis Outbreak as Cases on the Rise

February 25, 2019 12:25 PM | News

Health - Lab - Doctor - Blood

WINNIPEG — An outbreak of syphilis in Manitoba has health officials warning of a significant spike in cases.

The sexually transmitted infection can include a wide range of symptoms, which many may confuse with other conditions or diseases.

The province says there has been an ongoing outbreak of the infection in Manitoba since 2014 — from 118 to 350. For women, it’s gone from 16 to 168 in four years.

According to health officials, the majority of congenital syphilis cases have been reported in northern Manitoba and Winnipeg, but the risk is high across the province.


Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Michael Isaac, says women can pass the bacterial infection on during pregnancy.

Isaac says substance abuse and a lack of prenatal care were common factors in many of those cases.

The province is urging people to practice safe sex, get tested and seek regular prenatal medical care, especially if they are intravenous drug users.

“I think the injection drug use that we are seeing in Manitoba certainly is linked with crystal methamphetamine use,” Isaac said Monday.

— With files from The Canadian Press