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Spectrum of Viral Pathogens in Blood of Malaria-Free Ill Travelers Returning to Canada

Ruwandi Kariyawasam, Rachel Lau, Alireza Eshaghi, Samir N Patel, Doug Sider, Jonathan B Gubbay, Andrea K Boggild
Emerging Infectious Diseases 2016, 22 (5): 854-61
Malaria is the most common specific cause of fever in returning travelers, but many other vectorborne infections and viral infections are emerging and increasingly encountered by travelers. We documented common and emerging viral pathogens in malaria-negative specimens from ill travelers returning to Canada. Anonymized, malaria-negative specimens were examined for various viral pathogens by real-time PCR. Samples were positive for herpes simplex viruses 1 or 2 (n = 21, 1.6%), cytomegalovirus (n = 4, 0.3%), Epstein-Barr virus (n = 194, 14.9%), dengue virus types 1-4 (n = 27, 2.1%), chikungunya virus (n = 5, 0.4%), and hepatitis A virus (n = 12, 0.9%). Travel-acquired viral pathogens were documented in >20% of malaria-negative specimens, of which 2.5% were infected with dengue and chikungunya viruses. Our findings support the anecdotal impression that these vectorborne pathogens are emerging among persons who travel from Canada to other countries.


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