BRANTFORD — The Brant County Health Unit says they are seeing a steep spike in infectious syphilis cases this year.
In a statement, health officials confirmed the number of cases in 2021, so far 15, has nearly tripled last years case count of 6 — and say the sexually transmitted disease is on the rise across the country in both men and women.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex and can also be passed from infected mother to infant during pregnancy or birth. Early symptoms can include genital sores, rash and headache. Syphilis is diagnosed through a simple blood test and is easily treated with penicillin or other antibiotics. If left untreated, syphilis can eventually affect the brain and nervous system.
“Individuals who have new sexual partners or multiple sexual partners should use a condom for sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex, to protect against STIs. Condoms provide very effective protection against sexually transmitted infections, including syphilis, if used properly and consistently during sexual activity,” says the BCHU.
“People infected with syphilis or other STIs may not have any symptoms or may attribute their symptoms to another medical condition. For this reason, regular STI screening is also an important part of stopping the spread of syphilis and other STIs. If you test positive, it is important for sexual partners to be notified to get tested and treated to prevent further spread of this disease. BCHU offers anonymous partner notification.”