Parasitic Zoonoses: One Health Surveillance in Northern Saskatchewan
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We report the results of a joint human-animal health investigation in a Dene community in northern Saskatchewan, where residents harvest wildlife (including moose, bear, elk, and fish), live in close contact with free roaming dogs, and lack access to permanent veterinary services. Fecal analysis of owned and free-roaming dogs over two consecutive years (N = 92, 103) identified several parasites of public health concern, including Toxocara canis, Diphyllobothrium spp., Echinococcus/Taenia, Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia spp. Administration of pyrantel pamoate to a subset of dogs (N = 122) in the community in the first year was followed by reduced shedding of T. canis and other roundworms in the second year, demonstrating the potential utility of canine de-worming as a public health intervention. Using direct agglutination tests with confirmatory indirect fluorescent antibody test, 21% of 47 dogs were sero-positive for exposure to Toxoplasma gondii. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) sero-prevalence rates in 201 human volunteers were as follows: Toxoplasma gondii (14%), Echinococcus granulosus (48%), Toxocara canis (13%) and Trichinella spp. (16%). Overall 65% of participants were sero-positive for at least one parasite. A survey administered to volunteers indicated few associations between widely accepted risk factors for parasite exposure and serological status, emphasizing the importance of environmental transmission of these parasites through soil, food, and waterborne routes.
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