Doctors advised to test for syphilis as cases in Quebec begin to rise

Montreal public health authorities are advising local physicians to be vigilant and test patients for syphilis after an increase in the number of reported cases in the region.

“In the region of Montreal, three cases of congenital syphilis (where the disease is passed by an infected mother to her unborn child) were reported in 2021 and one case in 2020,” authorities wrote in a bulletin to physicians issued on Friday. Authorities noted that until 2020, the last such case reported locally was in 2016. 

The bulletin also noted that eight cases of congenital syphilis were reported in the Quebec City area between 2020 and 2021, and that the number of female cases of infectious syphilis in Montreal increased from 17 to 45 between 2017 and 2019, and from 68 to 131 in the Quebec City area during the same period.

The bulletin recommends that physicians test all pregnant women in their care for syphilis, as well as regularly administer tests to patients who are sexually active.

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