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Keywords:

  • Environmental risk factors;
  • gastroenteritis;
  • zoonotic;
  • children;
  • Quebec

Summary

This study was designed to evaluate the association of potential zoonotic gastroenteritis in children, and specifically giardiasis, salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis, with environmental risk factors in rural areas of Quebec. Notified cases of gastroenteritis in children of 0–4 years of age reported in the period of 1999 through 2006 from municipalities in southern Quebec with <100 000 inhabitants were investigated. Negative binomial regression models accounting for overdispersion and adjusted for clustering were used to estimate relative risks (RR) associated with livestock densities and drinking water quality. Analyses revealed that, during this period, 2500 cases of gastroenteritis were reported in children of 0–4 years, including 819 cases of giardiasis, 690 of salmonellosis and 852 of campylobacteriosis. The incidence rate associated with all potential zoonotic agents reported was 163 cases/100 000 children-years and this was statistically associated with cattle density: RR Quartile 4/Quartile 1 (Q4/Q1) = 1.92, 95% CI = 1.43–2.58. When estimated specifically for each pathogen, incidence rates of giardiasis (RR Q4/Q1 = 1.79, 95% CI = 1.11–2.87), salmonellosis (RR Q4/Q1 = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.15–2.33) and campylobacteriosis (RR Q4/Q1 = 2.43, 95% CI = 1.60–3.68) were also associated with cattle density, with a monotonic increase of RR with increasing animal density. Giardiasis incidence was also positively associated with a poor drinking water quality, although no statistically significant association was found. Our results suggest that, in rural Quebec, bacterial and parasitic enteric infections in young children may be zoonoses related to environmental risk factors and especially cattle production.