Infectious Syphilis and Congenital Syphilis in Canada, 2020 (infographic)

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Date published: 2021-11-10

Infectious syphilis

In 2020, 9126 cases of infectious syphilis were reported, for a rate of 24 per 100,000 population.

Number of cases and rates of infectious syphilis in Canada, 2016-2020
Year Number of infectious syphilis cases Rate per 100,000 population
2016 3869 10.7
2017 4080 11.2
2018 6281 16.9
2019 9180 24.4
2020 9126 24.0

In the past five years (2016 to 2020) rates of infectious syphilis among females increased by 740%, while male cases increased by 70% during the same period. Overall, infectious syphilis rates have increased by 124% nationally, from 2016 to 2020.

Rates of infectious syphilis have increased in almost all provinces and territories (except for New Brunswick and Nunavut). The highest rates increases were observed in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwest Territories.

Provincial and territorial rate change (%) from 2016 to 2020
Province or territory Percent increase from 2016 to 2020 (%)
BC ↑18%
AB ↑484%
SK ↑891%
MB ↑537%
ON ↑49%
QC ↑4%
NB ↓-10%
NS ↑87%
NL ↑16%
NU ↓-43%
Canada ↑124%
  • NC: Rate change was not computable as the 2016 rate was zero.
  • NA: Rate change was not calculated as total number of cases per year was lower than five.

A 2% decrease in infectious syphilis rates was observed nationally from 2019 to 2020. This might be explained by a decreased demand for and ability to deliver STBBI services (including testing) due to the COVID-19 pandemicFootnote 1.

Congenital syphilis

Number of confirmed congenital syphilis cases and reported infectious syphilis rates among women aged 15-39
Year Number of confirmed congenital syphilis cases Female rate (15-39 years old) per 100,000 women
2016 4 2.5
2017 7 4.0
2018 17 13.7
2019 53 23.2
2020 50 39.7

* Note there was a revision to the original infographic related to congenital syphilis case counts.

* Data was directly obtained from all provinces and territories (PTs). Ten PTs submitted data for the full calendar year of 2020 while three PTs (NB, NL and NU) provided partial counts; annual counts were estimated. Data for 2020 is preliminary.

Footnote 1

Survey of the impact of COVID-19 on the ability to provide STBBI prevention, testing and treatment including harm reduction services in Canada. Public Health Agency of Canada, Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control. 2021.

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Footnote 2

gbMSM: Gay, bisexual and other men that have sex with men.

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© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Health, 2021 | Cat.: HP40-280/2020E-PDF | ISBN: 978-0-660-39207-3 | Pub.: 210138

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