NWHU advises syphilis rates continue to increase with most cases in Sioux Lookout and Kenora Health Hubs
Tim Brody - Editor
The Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) is advising that cases of syphilis continue to increase in the region. NWHU shared in a March 8 media release that, “In 2022, there were 139 confirmed cases of syphilis in the NWHU catchment area, which is a 21% increase from the previous year. Just over 50% of the cases in 2022 were identified in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub and 42% were in the Kenora Health Hub.”
NWHU advised in a March 7 Medical Alert that the most common risk factors are:
- no condom use
- sex with the
- opposite sex
- injection drug use / substance use
- multiple/new sex partners and
- being underhoused / homeless
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) which is primarily spread through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex, NWHU shared. “Consistent use of barrier methods for protection such as condoms and dental dams is very important to prevent the spread of syphilis,” stated Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at NWHU. She also encourages anyone at risk to get tested, “Testing is available at NWHU sexual health clinics and from your healthcare provider”.
NWHU further advised, “Syphilis can also spread from a pregnant woman to a fetus during pregnancy. It is recommended that pregnant women get tested three times during pregnancy, or as recommended by their healthcare provider.”
For more information, people are advised to contact their local NWHU office (https://www.nwhu.on.ca/contact/our-office-locations/), 807-737-2292 in Sioux Lookout or 807-928-2234 in Pickle Lake.
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