Northwestern Health Unit Warns of Rising Syphilis Cases in the Region


Kenora – Health – Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) has issued a warning that the number of syphilis cases in the region is continuing to rise. According to NWHU, there were 139 confirmed cases of syphilis in the catchment area in 2022, which represents a 21% increase from the previous year. The majority of cases (just over 50%) were identified in the Sioux Lookout Health Hub, while 42% were found in the Kenora Health Hub.

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is typically transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at NWHU, stresses the importance of consistently using barrier methods such as condoms and dental dams to prevent the spread of syphilis. She also advises anyone who may be at risk to get tested, stating that testing is available at NWHU sexual health clinics and from healthcare providers.

Additionally, it is possible for syphilis to be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy. Therefore, NWHU recommends that pregnant women get tested for syphilis three times during pregnancy or as recommended by their healthcare provider.