Malaria is the most common cause of fever in travelers returning from tropical and subtropical areas. In order to better understand the other vector-borne and viral infections occurring in these areas, researchers examined 1,592 blood samples collected from ill travelers returning to Canada.
One-hundred and sixty five were positive for malaria, and the other samples were screened for an array of viral pathogens by real-time PCR assays. More than 20% of individuals (n=262) were positive for at least one viral pathogen including herpes simplex viruses (n=21, 1.6%), cytomegalovirus (n=4, 0.3%), Epstein-Barr virus (n=194, 14.9%), Chikungunya (n=5, 0.4%), hepatitis A (n=12, 0.9%), and dengue (n=33, 2.5%). Nine samples (0.7%) had mixed viral infections. The current 12 month deferral period for blood donation from travelers returning from areas endemic to malaria also ensures that viruses and other vector-borne infections are eliminated from the blood supply in the United States and Canada.
- Kariyawasam R, Lau R, Eshaghi A, Patel SN, Sider D, Gubbay JB, Boggild AK. Spectrum of Viral Pathogens in Blood of Malaria-Free Ill Travelers Returning to Canada. Emerg Infect Dis 2016;22: 854-61.