Seroprevalence of parasitic zoonoses and their relationship with social factors among the Canadian Inuit in Arctic regions

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2014 Apr;78(4):404-10. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2013.08.026. Epub 2014 Jan 22.


Residents of Arctic communities are at increased risk of contracting infectious diseases transmitted by wildlife. Data collected from the International Polar Year Inuit Health Survey were used to determine the seroprevalence of 4 parasitic zoonoses in three Inuit jurisdictions of the Canadian Arctic and to assess risk factors of infection. To date, this is the most comprehensive survey of its kind. Immunoenzymatic methods were used for the detection of antibodies against Toxocara canis, Echinococcus granulosus, Trichinella sp., and Toxoplasma gondii. We determined the weighted prevalence of parasitic infections in 36 Inuit communities across the Inuvialuit settlement region, Nunavut, and Nunatsiavut. Our results indicate infrequent exposure to Toxocara and Echinococcus (1.7 and 6.3%, respectively). Exposure to T. gondii (27.2%) and Trichinella (18.6%) was more prevalent and was generally higher in Nunavut compared to other northern regions. Overall, seropositivity was related to age, education, and consumption of marine mammals and seafood.

Keywords: Echinococcus; Inuit; Seroepidemiologic studies; Toxocara; Toxoplasma; Trichinella.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / blood
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Arctic Regions
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parasitic Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Young Adult
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology*


  • Antibodies, Helminth
  • Antibodies, Protozoan