People, Pets, and Parasites: One Health Surveillance in Southeastern Saskatchewan
Residents of remote and Indigenous communities might experience higher exposure to some zoonotic parasites than the general North American population. Human sero-surveillance conducted in two Saulteaux communities found 113 volunteers exposed as follows: Trichinella (2.7%), Toxocara canis (4.4%), Echinococcus (4.4%), and Toxoplasma gondii (1.8%). In dogs, 41% of 51 fecal samples were positive for at least one intestinal parasite, 3% of 77 were sero-positive for Borrelia burgdorferi, and 21% of 78 for T. gondii. Echinococcus exposure was more likely to occur in non-dog owners (odds ratio [OR]: 11.4, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.2–107, P = 0.03); although T. canis was more likely to occur in children (ages 4–17) (OR: 49, 95% CI: 3.9–624; P = 0.003), and those with a history of dog bites (OR: 13.5, 95% CI: 1.02–179; P = 0.048). Our results emphasize the use of dogs as sentinels for emerging pathogens such as Lyme disease, and the need for targeted surveillance and intervention programs tailored for parasite species, cultural groups, and communities.