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Syphilis outbreak declared for Middlesex-London region

The entrance to the Middlesex-London Health Unit. Middlesex-London Health Unit

The Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) has declared a community-wide syphilis outbreak after a recent increase in cases.

The number of syphilis cases in the Middlesex-London region as more than tripled so far this year to 113.

“We want to emphasize that something is happening that is causing the case numbers to increase, and that syphilis transmission is occurring more easily,” said Dr. Alex Summers, associate medical officer of health with the MLHU.

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“It’s important to alert the community about what’s happening. We’re seeing that cases of syphilis are becoming more widespread, and because this is a disease we’re concerned about, it’s critical to make sure people understand how to protect themselves.”

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The health unit first detected the increase in the number of cases among men who have sex with men but more recent data shows that a growing proportion of cases are being diagnosed in people who have sex with members of the opposite sex and those associated
with the sex trade.

This is the second time since 2005 the local rate of syphilis cases has exceeded the provincial rate.

The health unit is recommending that people with new sexual partners or multiple sexual partners use a condom. They add that condoms protect against not only syphilis but also other sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea.

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They also recommend getting tested to prevent any further spread of the disease, adding there may not be any apparent outward signs or symptoms.

More information about the disease and where to get tested is on the MLHU website.

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