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Evaluation of Strongyloides Awareness and Knowledge among Canadian Physicians Caring for Patients At Risk for Severe Strongyloidiasis: A National Cross-sectional Survey

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  • 1 Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada;
  • | 2 J. D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill University, Montreal, Canada;
  • | 3 Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada;
  • | 4 The Montreal Children’s Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada
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ABSTRACT.

In Canada, a substantial proportion of migrants come from strongyloidiasis-endemic regions. Systematic screening for Strongyloides is not performed in immunocompromised patients in whom this infection could be potentially fatal. We aim to assess the level of Strongyloides awareness and knowledge among Canadian physicians caring for immunocompromised patients and identify factors currently associated with screening. Using an online survey distributed through Canadian medical associations, we collected information on physicians’ demographics, practice setting, overall awareness and knowledge of Strongyloides, and current practices. Descriptive analysis and logistic regression models were performed to identify the factors associated with Strongyloides screening. Nineteen national and provincial medical associations agreed to participate. Between November 2020 and August 2021, 368 of 5,194 (7%) physicians that were contacted responded to our survey. Quebec (46%) and Ontario (24%) were the most responsive. Sixty-nine percent of respondents practiced medicine in academic settings. Infectious disease (ID) specialists/medical microbiologists (38%) followed by nephrologists (33%) were the most represented. Most respondents (95%) had heard about Strongyloides. However, 36% of non-ID specialists considered themselves unfamiliar. Forty percent of respondents did not or rarely performed screening for strongyloidiasis in high-risk populations. Screening was associated with younger-aged physicians (odds ratio [OR] 2.35; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–5.18), physicians who frequently served migrants (OR 3.33; 95% CI 1.44–7.66), or those who had training in global health and ID/medical microbiology (OR 3.71; 95% CI 1.21–11.34 and OR 46.42; 95% CI 15.89–135.59, respectively). Our survey suggests a general lack of knowledge of Strongyloides among Canadian physicians that is associated with low rates of screening in high-risk populations.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Sapha Barkati, J. D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill University, 1001 Boulevard Decarie, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H4A 3J1. E-mail: sapha.barkati2@mcgill.ca

Financial support: This work was supported by the Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec Canada. C. P. Y. holds a “Chercheur-boursier clinicien” career award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS).

Disclosure: The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Authors’ addresses: Samuel De l’Étoile-Morel, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, E-mail: samuel.deletoile-morel@mail.mcgill.ca. Faheel Naeem, J. D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, E-mail: faheel.naeem@maiul.mcgill.ca. Mohammad Alghounaim, The Montreal Children’s Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, E-mail: mohammad.alghounaim@gmail.com. Makeda Semret, Cedric P. Yansouni, Michael D. Libman, and Sapha Barkati, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, J. D. MacLean Centre for Tropical Diseases at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, E-mails: makeda.semret@mcgill.ca, yansouni@mcgill.ca, michael.libman@mcgill.ca, and sapha.barkati2@mcgill.ca.

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