New Report on Reportable Diseases Shows Increase of Giardiasis Cases in 2013

Written by admin, June 12, 2014

June 12, 2014 – Chlamydia Still Top STI; However Case Numbers Drop for Third Year in a Row

According to the annual snapshot of reportable diseases released today by Peterborough Public Health, the number of diseases spread by food and waterborne routes increased in 2013 due in part to the doubling of giardiasis cases (also called beaver fever).

“While the case numbers for giardiasis are still low, seeing them increase like this is a good reminder to all of us enjoying the great outdoors that water sources could be contaminated,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “Travelers, campers and hikers need to know how to make drinking water safe by bringing it to a rolling boil for at least one minute, or through the combined use of portable filtration systems and chemical disinfection.”

In 2013 there were 25 cases of giardiasis compared to 11 cases in 2012, and of those 36% of the cases were contracted by local residents who travelled to other areas, 16% from swimming, and 12% from camping.

While those who are infected with giardia, a microscopic parasite, can remain asymptomatic, others may experience diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bloating, fatigue, malabsorption and weight loss.  Families are encouraged when camping to remain vigilant about personal hygienic practices, such as hand washing before meals, after toilet use and changing diapers.

Other highlights from Public Health’s 2013 Reportable Diseases Report for Peterborough County & City include the continuing prevalence of chlamydia as the most frequently diagnosed reportable disease in the area with 320 cases.  While this number represents almost half of the 661 total of all reportable diseases seen in Peterborough County and City in 2013, local chlamydia rates continued to decline for the third year in a row from their peak in 2010.  Chlamydia is the most widespread sexually-transmitted infection in Canada and is most common among teenagers and young adults. 

“Since people can be infected with chlamydia and not show any symptoms, we strongly encourage everyone who is sexually active to use condoms and other preventative measures and get tested after unprotected sex,” said Dr. Salvaterra.  “Our clients who come into the Sexual Health Clinic are always relieved to discover how easy it is to test for and treat chlamydia, and that it’s completely curable when caught early enough.”

There are more than 60 communicable diseases that all healthcare providers are required to report to Public Health.  The Public Health’s 2013 report organizes these diseases into four categories: food and waterborne diseases; sexually-transmitted and blood-borne infections; diseases spread by direct contact and respiratory routes; and ‘other’ which includes vaccine-preventable diseases, vector-borne diseases, and zoonotic diseases.

To see the full report, visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca, click on “About Us”, then “Plans and Reports – Reportable Diseases in Peterborough County and City 2013”.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391