Chlamydia rates in N.B. are 'alarming': doctor

A senior health official says the incidence of chlamydia in New Brunswick is reaching alarming levels.

New Brunswick's outgoing deputy chief medical officer is issuing a warning over the number of cases of chlamydia in the province.

Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease that can damage female reproductive organs, is putting young women in the province especially at risk.

Dr. Paul Van Buynder, who is leaving the New Brunswick government to work in B.C., issued the warning after receiving figures on cases of chlamydia in the province last year.

"They'd gone up another 20 per cent, to over 1800 of the youth in New Brunswick with chlamydia," Van Buynder said.

Van Buynder said what's even more disconcerting is the greatest rate of increase was among 16 year olds.

"To me, it's just as serious an epidemic as the pandemic was. These are young girls whose fertility is being challenged," he said.

Van Buynder said a recent focus group of young people revealed they didn't understand and had no sense of the risks of chlamydia.

He said the province and health professionals must work harder at educating the youth of New Brunswick about the risks and how to avoid them.