October 2014 – WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says it is experiencing the worst and fastest-spreading outbreak of infectious syphilis recorded in the city. The region has recorded 60 syphilis cases in the first 10 months of this year, up from 40 cases the same time last year, the medical officer of health said in a bulletin to health-care providers. There were fewer than three cases a year in the 1990s, the health authority said. Following an outbreak that ended in 2008, the city had experienced about three cases every four months, the health authority said. There has been an average of six new cases per month in 2014 (to the end of September). Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. This is the city’s third outbreak since 2000. There were three new cases reported each month at the height of the previous two outbreaks. Most cases are being diagnosed in men who have sex with men and about one-third are in people who are HIV positive, the health region said. There have been reports of increasing numbers of syphilis cases in major Canadian cities from Halifax to Vancouver. –Global
110 million Americans infected with STDs – While the national media focus on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the patient in Dallas, the CDC is reminding Americans that sexually transmitted diseases are an ongoing but hidden epidemic. In the United States, nearly 20 million cases of new STD infections are reported each year, reports Live Science. Since infections can persist for a long time, and because some victims are not even aware they have a disease and can easily spread it to others. Based on data from 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the eight most common sexually transmitted diseases are: chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus (HBV), genital herpes, HIV, human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis and trichomoniasis.
About 50.5 million current infections are in men while 59.5 million are in women, for a total of 110 million Americans with STDs at any given time. Fifty percent of new infections occur in young people from ages 15-24 and gonorrhea is the most commonly reported STD in that age group. Gonorrhea is the second most commonly reported STD in the United States. The most commonly reported infection is chlamydia. But since many who are infected don’t show symptoms, the number could be far higher than the 1.4 million in 2012, a rate of 457 cases per 100,000 people. New infections with HIV and hepatitis B occur in less than 50,000 people each year. New cases of STDs cost nearly $16 billion a year in direct medical costs, according to the CDC. –CBS