Communicable Disease Report

Gonorrhea and syphilis cases are down, but Hepatitis C continues to be a problem in Chatham-Kent.

The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit has released numbers with respect to communicable disease cases in 2013, and the results are varied. Certain STI cases are remaining well below the national standard. However, 49 cases of Hepatitis C are alarming health officials.

“Due to new methods available and increased awareness, testing has increased… So that plays a big role in seeing our rates increase as well,” explains epidemiologist Ramsay D’Souza, who points to drug use as a factor for the increased number of Hep C cases.

The standardized rate of cases per 100,000 people in Chatham-Kent is 45. The standardized rate Ontario-wide is 29.4. First and foremost, D’Souza says awareness of transmission needs to be increased.

“If people are talking about it and aware of how impactful these diseases can be, it brings them forward to get tested and treated,” says D’Souza.