Protection, protection, protection! It seems like a lot of people in Ottawa are wishing they used it, as the city has seen an unpleasant recent spike in a particular sexually transmitted disease. Syphilis appears to have made its way back again and Ottawa syphilis cases have taken a 400-percent jump in the last five years.

In 2013, according to the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Public Health recorded 30 cases of syphilis. As recently as 2000, only one solitary case was recorded in the entire year.

That figure of 30 cases had risen to 159 by last year, an astronomical rise of 430 percent.

That rapid rate of increase is obviously a hugely alarming statistic. Syphilis can be treated with penicillin but spotting it might be harder than some might imagine. It's extremely contagious, particularly when it comes to sexual contact, and easy to miss because it can be easily mistaken for other illnesses.

"The number (of cases) is small but it's that striking increase, where we are going from the point where you can count it on your two hands to now we're getting three cases per week," Patrick O'Byrne, an Ottawa nurse practitioner and nursing professor, said, as quoted by CTV News.

This STI is so uncommon that some health providers in Ottawa have never even seen a real case.

So, they're taking it upon themselves to educate themselves, with the help of Ottawa Public Health.

Health officials say syphilis can spread pretty quickly, and without more awareness, they are worried that the numbers will continue to increase.

The horrible thing about this is that if the disease is left untreated, syphilis can eventually cause dementia, ruin your organs, or even lead to death.

It seems that Ottawa isn't alone in Canada in terms of suffering from a resurgence of the disease, though. The province of Alberta also declared an outbreak earlier this year.

Ottawa Public Health suggested that anonymous and condomless sex are the most common risk factors for Ottawans who have been diagnosed with syphilis.

The Citizen article goes on to say that chlamydia and gonorrhoea rates are also spiking so it sees Canada's capital, all in all, has a bit of an issue right now.

It just goes to show that although you might think you're good, it's always better to be safe than sorry!


There are stories everywhere. If you spot a newsworthy event in your city, send us a message, photo, or video @NarcityCanada on Twitter and Instagram.


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