Surveillance of non-polio enterovirus infections

Find out how non-polio enterovirus infections are monitored.

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How many cases are there of non-polio enterovirus infections in Canada?

There are more than 100 different types of non-polio enteroviruses that cause a range of illnesses.

Most people with a non-polio enterovirus infection will not have symptoms. Others may only experience mild symptoms that can be treated with over-the-counter medications. This means cases are often not reported. Therefore, it is difficult to know the total number of cases in Canada.

Enterovirus is not a nationally notifiable disease in Canada, which also affects reporting on the total number of cases.

A widespread outbreak of enterovirus-D68 (EV-D68) in children occurred in 2014 in Canada and the U.S. EV-D68 is a specific type of non-polio enterovirus that usually causes mild respiratory illness. Severe cases are rare.

In 2014, the federal government initiated a time-limited surveillance project following the unusual increase in EV-D68 in Canada and the U.S. Between July 2014 and October 2014, 282 specimens from several provinces across Canada tested positive for EV-D68. In contrast, during a prior 15-year period (1999 to 2013), 82 specimens tested positive for EV-D68.

How many cases are there of non-polio enterovirus infections around the world?

Enteroviruses are found worldwide and infect approximately more than a billion people across the world.

In recent years, outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease have occurred frequently in some Asian countries. The U.S. recently experienced a nation-wide outbreak of EV-D68.

How does Canada monitor non-polio enterovirus infections?

Provinces and territories may send specimens to the National Microbiology Laboratory for enterovirus testing.

However, some jurisdictions have the laboratory capacity to conduct the testing themselves. Contact your provincial or territorial public health authorities for information about confirmed cases in your region.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is continuing to collect national laboratory-based epidemiological information on the incidence of enterovirus infections. This is so it will be able to detect emerging enterovirus disease.

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