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Alberta declares province-wide syphilis outbreak
Alberta is declaring a provincial outbreak following a continued rapid rise of syphilis cases across the province.
"Sexually transmitted infections are a risk to anyone who is sexually active, particularly people who have new sex partners and are not using protection," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health.
Hinshaw said testing and treatment are freely available to Albertans.
"I encourage anyone who is sexually active to get tested regularly," she said.
Alberta Health Services says cases of infectious syphilis have reached a rate unseen in the province since 1948, with the number of cases growing tenfold over a four-year period: from 161 cases in 2014 to 1,536 in 2018.
There were additional 22 cases of congenital syphilis, which occurs when a child is born to a mother carrying the disease, according to AHS.
The health authority says condom use is among the best ways to guard against the infection. It is encouraging anyone who is sexually active to get tested every three to six months if they have a partner with a sexually transmitted disease, a new sexual partner or have been sexually assaulted.
Edmonton saw 977 cases in 2018, an increase of 305.4 per cent, according to AHS statistics.