Protozoal infections Malaria

Although endemic from Qu├ębec to the prairie provinces in the early 1800s, malaria is now an imported disease in Canada. The chief risk groups are immigrants from endemic countries, travellers, missionaries, overseas workers, and foreign students. Between 1985 and 1995, imported malaria accounted for a total of five deaths in Canada, a greater number of deaths in Canadians abroad, and an average annual 436 cases reported to Statistics Canada. These mortality and morbidity figures reflect increasing travel trends to high risk malarious areas, the use of inadequate or lack of chemoprophylaxis, and delays in seeking medical attention on return to Canada (Svenson et al. 1995).

Table 7.3 Most important parasite infections and diseases of Canada

Parasite infection

Prevalencea

Distribution

High-risk groups

Research being undertaken by Canadiansb

Malaria

Isolated cases,

General

Travellers, immigrants

Compliance with

imported

anti-malarials, drug

resistance, vaccine

development

Toxoplasmosis

Up to 53%,

All regions

Pregnant women

Prenatal screening,

endemic

diagnostic tools

Giardiasis

About 5%,

All regions

Hikers, children in daycare

Prevalence, water

endemic

centres

management,

detection in food

Amoebiasis

Limited foci,

All regions

Native and Inuit populations,

Host defence

endemic

immigrants

mechanisms,

diagnostic tools

Pinworm

Widespread,

All regions

Children, families

endemic

Intestinal worms (e.g.

Rare cases,

All regions

Immigrants

Epidemiology

hookworm, whipworm, etc )

imported

Anisakiasis

Rare cases,

Coastal regions

Raw fish eaters

Biogeography,

endemic

taxonomy

Metorchiasis

Rare cases,

Southern

Raw fish eaters

Link with cancer,

endemic

Canada

diagnostic tools

Diphyllobothriasis

Limited foci,

Northern

Raw fish eaters

Biogeography

endemic

Canada

Tapeworms

Rare cases,

Southern

Immigrants, rural inhabitants

Epidemiology,

endemic

Canada

physiology

Pediculosis

1-10%, endemic All regions

School children

Epidemiology,

treatment

Scabies

Limited foci,

All regions

Hospital population, care

Epidemiology

endemic

facilities

Echinococcosis

<1%, endemic

Northern and

Immigrants, rural inhabitants

Immunity

western Canada

Trichinellosis

<1%, endemic

Northern

Native communities,

Molecular biology,

Canada

immigrants

immunology,

ecology

Toxocariasis

Endemic

Southern

Preschool children who eat

Contamination in

Canada

dirt

environment

Cryptosporidiosis

Endemic

Most regions

Immunocompromised persons

Detection

techniques

Notes a Imported = imported by immigrants and travellers into Canada, no local transmission; endemic = local transmission.

b Research interests are based on information provided in the Directory of Parasitologists in Canada, 2nd edn, 1996 published under the auspices of the Biological Survey of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the Canadian Society of Zoologists.

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