Malaria in travellers returning or migrating to Canada: surveillance report from CanTravNet surveillance data, 2004-2014.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Malaria remains the most common specific cause of fever in returned travellers and can be life-threatening. We examined demographic and travel correlates of malaria among Canadian travellers and immigrants to identify groups for targeted pretravel intervention. METHODS: Descriptive data on ill returned Canadian travellers and immigrants presenting to a CanTravNet site between 2004 and 2014 with a diagnosis of malaria were analyzed. Data were collected using the GeoSentinel data platform. This network comprises 63 specialized travel and tropical medicine clinics, including 7 Canadian sites (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Montréal), that contribute anonymous, delinked, clinician- and questionnaire-based travel surveillance data on all ill travellers examined to a centralized Structure Query Language database. RESULTS: During the study period, 20 345 travellers and immigrants were evaluated, and 93% had a travel-related diagnosis. Of these, 437 (2.1%) patients received 456 malaria diagnoses, the most common species being Plasmodium falciparum (n = 282, 61.8%). People travelling to visit friends and relatives were most well-represented (n = 169, 38.7%), followed by business travellers (n = 71, 16.2%). Sub-Saharan Africa was the most common source region, accounting for 341 (74.8%) malaria diagnoses, followed by South Central Asia (n = 55, 12%). Nigeria was the most well-represented source country, accounting for 41 cases (9.0%). India, a high-volume destination for Canadians, accounted for 40 cases (8.8%), 36 of which were caused by Plasmodium vivax. Of 456 malaria diagnoses, 26 (5.7%) were severe. Of 377 nonimmigrant travellers with malaria, 19.9% (n = 75) travelled for less than 2 weeks, and 7.2% (n = 27) travelled for less than 1 week. INTERPRETATION: This analysis provides an epidemiologic framework for Canadian practitioners encountering prospective and returned travellers. It confirms the importance of preventive measures and surveillance associated with travel to sub-Saharan Africa and India, particularly by travellers visiting friends or relatives. Short-duration travel confers important malaria risk.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • CMAJ open  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 15249575
  • Author List

  • Boggild AK; Geduld J; Libman M; Yansouni CP; McCarthy AE; Hajek J; Ghesquiere W; Vincelette J; Kuhn S; Freedman DO
  • Start Page

  • E352
  • End Page

  • E358
  • Volume

  • 4
  • Issue

  • 3