Little is known about the microbiology of diarrhoeal disease in Canada's Arctic regions. There are a number of limitations of conventional microbiology testing techniques for diarrhoeal pathogens, and these may be further compromised in the Arctic, given the often long distances for specimen transport.
To develop a novel multiple-target nanolitre real-time reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR platform to simultaneously test diarrhoeal specimens collected from residents of the Qikiqtani (Baffin Island) Region of Nunavut, Canada, for a wide range of bacterial, parasitic and viral agents.
Diarrhoeal stool samples submitted for bacterial culture to Qikiqtani General Hospital in Nunavut over an 18-month period were tested with a multiple-target nanolitre real-time PCR panel for major diarrhoeal pathogens including 8 bacterial, 6 viral and 2 parasitic targets.
Among 86 stool specimens tested by PCR, a total of 50 pathogens were detected with 1 or more pathogens found in 40 (46.5%) stool specimens. The organisms detected comprised 17 Cryptosporidium spp., 5 Clostridium difficile with toxin B, 6 Campylobacter spp., 6 Salmonella spp., 4 astroviruses, 3 noroviruses, 1 rotavirus, 1 Shigella spp. and 1 Giardia spp. The frequency of detection by PCR and bacterial culture was similar for Salmonella spp., but discrepant for Campylobacter spp., as Campylobacter was detected by culture from only 1/86 specimens. Similarly, Cryptosporidium spp. was detected in multiple samples by PCR but was not detected by microscopy or enzyme immunoassay.
Cryptosporidium spp., Campylobacter spp. and Clostridium difficile may be relatively common but possibly under-recognised pathogens in this region. Further study is needed to determine the regional epidemiology and clinical significance of these organisms. This method appears to be a useful tool for gastrointestinal pathogen research and may also be helpful for clinical diagnostics and outbreak investigation in remote regions where the yield of routine testing may be compromised.
Nineteen cases of nosocomial influenza occurred at a pediatric hospital during a 5-year period. Only one of the nine children with chronic health conditions had been immunized. Length of stay was prolonged for seven children, with three intensive care unit admissions. We have now implemented strategies to decrease nosocomial influenza infection.
Although the prevalences of infection with the protozoan parasites Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis in humans appear to be relatively high in the Canadian North, their transmission patterns are poorly understood.
To determine the detection rate and the molecular characteristics of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis in diarrhoeic patients in the Qikiqtani (Baffin Island) Region of Nunavut, Canada, in order to better understand the burden of illness and the potential mechanisms of transmission.
Diarrhoeal stool specimens (n=108) submitted to the Qikiqtani General Hospital for clinical testing were also tested for the presence of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia duodenalis using epifluorescence microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). DNA sequencing and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analyses were performed on PCR-positive specimens to determine the species, genotypes and sub-genotypes of the parasites.
Cryptosporidium was detected in 15.7% of the diarrhoeic patients, while Giardia was detected in 4.6%. DNA sequencing of a fragment of the small subunit rRNA gene indicated that all of the Cryptosporidium amplicons had a 100% homology to C. parvum, and a gp60 assay showed that all aligned with C. parvum sub-genotype IIa. Microsatellite analysis revealed 3 cases of sub-genotype IIaA15G2R1, 2 of IIaA15G1R and 1 case each of sub-genotypes IIaA16G1R1 and IIaA15R1. For Giardia, results based on the amplification of both the 16S rRNA gene and the gdh gene were generally in agreement, and both DNA sequencing and RFLP demonstrated the presence of the G. duodenalis Assemblage B genotype.
Both C. parvum and G. duodenalis Assemblage B were present in human diarrhoeal stool specimens from Nunavut, which was suggestive of zoonotic transmission, although human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out. To fully understand the public health significance of the different Cryptosporidium and Giardia species and genotypes in diarrhoeic patients, it will be imperative to establish the extent of genetic diversity within these parasites through comprehensive studies of the molecular epidemiology of cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis in the Nunavut region.
Staphylococcus lugdunensis is reported to be a highly virulent coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species, but whether it is an important pediatric pathogen is uncertain. At our pediatric center, only 2.1% (7/347) of coagulase-negative Staphylococcus isolates were found to be S. lugdunensis, and only 1 isolate was considered possibly clinically significant.S. lugdunensis does not appear to be a common pathogen in children.