Syphilis is one of the four most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the world. Nearly 6 million new cases of syphilis have been reported each year globally among people aged 15 to 49 years. Since the discovery of penicillin, both, the treatment and the prevention of syphilis have been made easier. However, because of how easy it is for this infection to spread – through oral, vaginal, and anal sex, as well as passing the infection from an infected mother to her baby, we are still faced with a large number of new STD cases.
Still, it always comes as a surprise to us to see several new syphilis cases that have almost tripled, as it is the case with Saskatchewan, a small providence in Canada. Recently, the Saskatchewan Health Authority has made public the number of syphilis cases registered between the first quarter of 2019 and 2020.
What it came as a surprise to both the authority and the public is to learn that the number has almost tripled between these periods. In January, February, and March 2019, there has been a total of 58 new cases of syphilis. The shocking revelation of 158 new cases of syphilis during these same months the following year, in 2020, speaks for itself.
Understandably, the authorities have been quite concerned with this new information since syphilis can be quite dangerous and cause damage to multiple body organs such as the eyes, brain, and heart. The authorities alert anyone who has been engaging in risky behavior, has multiple sexual partners, or is a sex worker, to protect them accordingly against this and any other STD that can potentially end their lives if not put under control.
The authorities also go on to explain the potential reason as to why there has been an increase in new syphilis cases in the Saskatchewan providence. They have been aware of a similar increase in new syphilis cases in the surrounding northwest and northeast areas of the providence, as well as in the cities of Saskatoon, Regina, and Prince Albert. They suspect these events as a potential explanation for the new rise in their providence.
They have announced a decline in chlamydia and gonorrhea cases, however, they do suspect that could be the result of the current COVID-19 outbreak. Like in most countries that have been hit hard by the pandemic, Canada as well has been faced with a suddenly unavailable routine testing due to COVID-19 lockdown.
They are eager, however, to use this time that they have right now to come up with a new strategy that is supposed to help them reduce the overall number of STD cases. Making routine testing available again is the priority number one as well as raising awareness and educating people on how to properly protect themselves.