Abstract

Indigenous communities in the Arctic often face unique drinking water quality challenges related to inadequate infrastructure and environmental contamination; however, limited research exists on waterborne parasites in these communities. This study examined Giardia and Cryptosporidium in untreated surface water used for drinking in Iqaluit, Canada. Water samples (n = 55) were collected weekly from June to September 2016 and tested for the presence of Giardia and Cryptosporidium using microscopy and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Exact logistic regressions were used to examine associations between parasite presence and environmental exposure variables. Using microscopy, 20.0% of samples tested positive for Giardia (n = 11) and 1.8% of samples tested positive for Cryptosporidium (n = 1). Low water temperatures (1.1 to 6.7 °C) and low air temperatures (−0.1 to 4.5 °C) were significantly associated with an increased odds of parasite presence (p = 0.047, p = 0.041, respectively). These results suggest that surface water contamination with Giardia and Cryptosporidium may be lower in Iqaluit than in other Canadian regions; however, further research should examine the molecular characterization of waterborne parasites to evaluate the potential human health implications in Northern Canada.

You do not currently have access to this content.