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Health officials have officially declared that London has a serious syphilis problem after rates skyrocketed since 2014.
Syphilis is a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact.
The disease starts as a painless sore and can “spread from person to person via skin or mucous membrane contact with these sores,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
After the initial infection, the syphilis bacteria can remain inactive in your body for decades before becoming active again.
Early syphilis can be cured, sometimes with a single dose of penicillin, but without treatment, the infection can severely damage your heart, brain or other organs, and can be life-threatening.
According to health officials, the rate has increased well past the Ontario average, forcing them to urge residents to be tested.
“The importance of protecting yourself through the use of condoms is absolutely critical.”
The total number of confirmed syphilis cases hit 113 this year, eclipsing the roughly thirty cases confirmed in 2014. According to an article by the Winnipeg Free Press, the disease is notably affecting both homosexual men and heterosexuals, buckling the previous trend that showed increases only among homosexuals.
Health officials are asking the public to increase condom use in order to limit the transmission of the bacterial infection while also making sure to be tested as soon as possible.