Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Parasitic Diseases

Epidemiological and clinical description of the top three reportable parasitic diseases in a Canadian community

A. RAVELa1 c1, A. NESBITTa2, K. PINTARa3, A. MACARTHURa4, H.-L. WANGa4, B. MARSHALLa2 and F. POLLARIa2

a1 Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada

a2 Centre for Food-borne, Environmental and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

a3 Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

a4 Region of Waterloo Public Health, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

SUMMARY

This study provides a comprehensive epidemio-clinical picture of sporadic, domestically acquired cases of amoebiasis, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis in one Canadian community based on patient symptom, outcome and exposure data from an enhanced surveillance system. It yields valuable data for estimating the burden of those diseases including the proportion of bloody diarrhoea, hospitalization, and disease duration. Age differences were observed by incidence rate and for some clinical information and exposures to risk factors. For each of the three diseases, the animal/environment-to-person route was the most common possible main transmission route according to the exposure reported, whereas the person-to-person route was the least common. Exposure was higher for the 10–24 years age group of giardiasis cases for swimming in recreational waters (79%) and attending a barbeque (50%). Therefore, comparisons between groups of cases or extrapolation of results when estimating the burden of illness should be adjusted for age.

(Received August 03 2011)

(Revised February 10 2012)

(Accepted March 11 2012)

(Online publication May 28 2012)

Key words

  • Cryptosporidium ;
  • gastroenteritis;
  • giardiasis;
  • parasitic disease epidemiology and control;
  • surveillance

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr A. Ravel, Faculté de médecine vétérinaire, Université de Montréal, 3200 rue Sicotte C.P. 5000, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec Canada, J2S 7C6. (Email: andre.ravel@umontreal.ca)

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