Malaria epidemics and surveillance systems in Canada

Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Jul;10(7):1195-201. doi: 10.3201/eid1007.030826.


In the past decade, fluctuations in numbers of imported malaria cases have been seen in Canada. In 1997 to 1998, malaria case numbers more than doubled before returning to normal. This increase was not seen in any other industrialized country. The Canadian federal malaria surveillance system collects insufficient data to interpret these fluctuations. Using local (sentinel), provincial, federal, and international malaria surveillance data, we evaluate and interpret these fluctuations. Several epidemics are described. With an ever-increasing immigrant and refugee population of tropical origin, improved surveillance will be necessary to guide public health prevention policy and practice. The Canadian experience is likely to be generalizable to other industrialized countries where malaria is a reportable disease within a passive surveillance system.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Humans
  • Malaria / epidemiology*
  • Population Surveillance* / methods