Quebec doctors urged to look out for signs of syphilis in pregnant women
In this May 23, 1944 file photo, the organism treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis, is seen through an electron microscope. (AP Photo)
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, February 2, 2019 7:11PM EST
MONTREAL -- Quebec's order of doctors is urging its members to watch out for signs of syphilis in pregnant women as rates of the sexually transmitted infection continue to rise.
The College des medecins du Quebec says the sexually transmitted infection can have serious long-term consequences for newborns, but that they can be easily avoided with treatment.
Spokesman Jean-Bernard Trudeau says some doctors may forget to look out for signs of the infection since it was almost eradicated at the end of the 1990s.
But from 2010 to 2015, the rate of infectious syphilis in Canada increased by almost 86 per cent. And while most cases occur in men, Quebec alone reported 172 cases in women aged 15 to 49 in 2017.
The province also recorded seven cases of congenital syphilis -- or syphilis which is present at birth -- between 2016 and 2017, compared to only five for the 15 previous years.
Syphilis is often asymptomatic but signs can include a rash or sores in the mouth, genital or anal area. The order says anyone who is concerned about the infection should consult a doctor and get tested.