Health Minister Aware of Dangerous STI Outbreaks, Refuses to Take Action

December 12, 2018

New information obtained by the Manitoba NDP reveal the Minister of Health was warned about outbreaks in STIs as early as October of 2018, one day after he claimed previous information was merely “historical”.

Today Kinew shared a briefing note that was requested by the Minister of Health from the provincial department. The note was delivered to the Minister on October 22nd, 2018 by department officials. It confirms the data found in the WRHA’s documents, including that “unprecedented changes in sexually transmitted and blood borne infection trends contribute to increasing burden on health and health care system”.

The note also contained new information as the department noted there was an “alarming increase” in cases of congenital syphilis in the summer of 2018. In 2018 the department also noted HIV cases were up 21%. The documents identify communication with doctors and the public as a key tool to combat the spread of blood-borne illnesses.

“This new information underlies just how serious and urgent a crisis this is. Clearly the Minister and his department were well aware of the public health risks posed by meth and yet concealed that information from the public,” said Kinew. “The government is refusing to act to ensure Manitoba families are protected from contracting life-threatening illnesses.”

Additionally in the fall of 2018 the department noted that “harm reduction supply distribution”, or clean needles, was “strained in regions”. A “lack of coordinated provincial harm reduction effort” is identified as a pressure on the issue.

Yesterday NDP Leader Wab Kinew shared internal WRHA briefing notes that described an “unprecedented” outbreak of blood borne diseases related to intravenous drug use. According to documents, the WRHA has declared an outbreak of acute hepatitis B, hepatitis C and the “highest number ever recorded” of syphilis cases in youth under 25.

You can download the documents by clicking the Adobe Acrobat icon.

PDF FormatAdobe Acrobat version.