Conclusions

Parasite infections rarely cause death in Canada. Those primarily associated with mortality are toxoplasmosis, malaria, and the larval cestodes (Echinococcus and cysticerci). Significant morbidity does occur and many factors which exist today, and which are likely to increase in the future, will have an impact on the occurrence of parasite infections. Some of the more important factors include increasing travel (with increased 'at-risk' behaviours while travelling), increasing immigration to Canada from tropical and sub-tropical regions, increasing trade from tropical and sub-tropical regions (i. e. food products), and increasing diversity of food preparation and consumption patterns, among others. This situation requires that public health, medical, and laboratory personnel not only be aware of potential health concerns but also that they participate interactively in prevention and control activities to minimize adverse effects due to parasite infections. In addition, Canada has an active research community focusing on parasite-related research spanning the fields of molecular biology to epidemiology both in Canada and abroad. This provides a rich resource, in terms of parasite expertise, which supports local and international training activities and which enhances Canadian participation in international networks involved in global parasite prevention and control activities (i.e. Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization programmes, Emerging Diseases Networks, Public Health Associations, and others).

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