Foodborne and Waterborne Disease Mitigation: Community-based Surveillance for Environmental Health

Recent research uncovered the highest rates of self-reported enteric illness (i.e., diarrhea and vomiting) reported in the world to be in Iqaluit, Nunavut, and Rigolet, Nunatsiavut. Infectious diarrhea and vomiting can be caused by contaminated drinking water (i.e., waterborne disease), contaminated food (i.e., foodborne disease), or person-to- person contact. To reduce the high rates of diarrhea and vomiting in Northern Canada, we must monitor these pathogens causing illness to understand what pathogens are responsible for illness and how people contract the illness. The goal of this project is to create a participatory, community-based monitoring system to collect information on food and water contamination, and whether or not food and water contamination is causing illness in people in Iqaluit and Rigolet, Canada. This information will be important to understand why rates of diarrhea and vomiting in these communities appear to be high. The research team will work with Northern partners to use the research results to develop potential public health response options to reduce the high rate of illness. Training is an important focus of the project. Graduate students will learn community-based approaches to research through hands-on experience with partner organizations and community members. Inuit researchers will be trained in sampling and testing food and water for pathogens that can cause food- and waterborne disease. Northern collaborators will contribute to all phases of the research design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and results dissemination process.

Study Site Location:

Iqaluit, Nunavut

 

Project Contact

Dr. Sherilee Harper

Assistant Professor,

University of Guelph,

harpers@uoguelph.ca

Tel: 519-824-4120

 

Local Collaborations

Department of Health, Nunavut Research Institute

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