Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services

Bellechasse Regional County Municipality, Canada

Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services

Bellechasse Regional County Municipality, Canada
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Riva M.,Laval University | Plusquellec P.,University of Montréal | Juster R.-P.,University of Montréal | Juster R.-P.,McGill University | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health | Year: 2014

Background: Household crowding is an important problem in some aboriginal communities that is reaching particularly high levels among the circumpolar Inuit. Living in overcrowded conditions may endanger health via stress pathophysiology. This study examines whether higher household crowding is associated with stressrelated physiological dysregulations among the Inuit. Methods: Cross-sectional data on 822 Inuit adults were taken from the 2004 Qanuippitaa? How are we? Nunavik Inuit Health Survey. Chronic stress was measured using the concept of allostatic load (AL) representing the multisystemic biological 'wear and tear' of chronic stress. A summary index of AL was constructed using 14 physiological indicators compiled into a traditional count-based index and a binary variable that contrasted people at risk on at least seven physiological indicators. Household crowding was measured using indicators of household size (total number of people and number of children per house) and overcrowding defined as more than one person per room. Data were analysed using weighted Generalised Estimating Equations controlling for participants' age, sex, income, diet and involvement in traditional activities. Results: Higher household crowding was significantly associated with elevated AL levels and with greater odds of being at risk on at least seven physiological indicators, especially among women and independently of individuals' characteristics. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that household crowding is a source of chronic stress among the Inuit of Nunavik. Differential housing conditions are shown to be a marker of health inequalities among this population. Housing conditions are a critical public health issue in many aboriginal communities that must be investigated further to inform healthy and sustainable housing strategies.


Luo Z.-C.,University of Montréal | Wilkins R.,Health Information and Research Division | Wilkins R.,University of Ottawa | Heaman M.,University of Manitoba | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health | Year: 2012

Background: In circumpolar countries such as Canada, northern regions represent a unique geographical entity climatically, socioeconomically and environmentally. There is a lack of comparative data on birth outcomes among Indigenous and non-Indigenous subpopulations within northern regions and compared with southern regions. Methods: A cohort study of all births by maternal mother tongue to residents of northern (2616 First Nations (North American Indians), 2388 Inuit and 5006 non-Indigenous) and southern (2563 First Nations, 810 643 non-Indigenous) Quebec, 1991-2000. Results: Compared with births to southern non-Indigenous mother tongue women, births to northern women of all three mother tongue groups were at substantially elevated risks of infant death (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.7-2.9), especially postneonatal death (aOR 2.2-4.4) after controlling for maternal education, age, marital status and parity. The risk elevation in perinatal death was greater for southern First Nations (aOR 1.6) than for northern First Nations (aOR 1.2). Infant macrosomia was highly prevalent among First Nations in Quebec, especially in the north (31% vs 24% in the south). Within northern regions, Inuit births were at highest risk of preterm delivery (aOR 1.4) and infant death (aOR 1.6). Conclusion: All northern infants (First Nations, Inuit or non-Indigenous) were at substantially elevated risk of infant death in Quebec, despite a universal health insurance system. Southern First Nations newborns have not benefited from the more advanced perinatal care facilities in southern regions. Environmental influences may partly account for the very high prevalence of macrosomia among First Nations in northern Quebec.


PubMed | Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay, University of Montréal, Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services and First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Service Commission
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Aboriginal populations are at substantially higher risks of adverse birth outcomes, perinatal and infant mortality than their non-Aboriginal counterparts even in developed countries including Australia, U.S. and Canada. There is a lack of data on recent trends in Canada.We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study (n = 254,410) using the linked vital events registry databases for singleton births in Quebec 1996-2010. Aboriginal (First Nations, Inuit) births were identified by mother tongue, place of residence and Indian Registration System membership. Outcomes included preterm birth, small-for-gestational-age, large-for-gestational-age, low birth weight, high birth weight, stillbirth, neonatal death, postneonatal death, perinatal death and infant death.Perinatal and infant mortality rates were 1.47 and 1.80 times higher in First Nations (10.1 and 7.3 per 1000, respectively), and 2.37 and 4.46 times higher in Inuit (16.3 and 18.1 per 1000, respectively) relative to non-Aboriginal (6.9 and 4.1 per 1000, respectively) births (all p<0.001). Compared to non-Aboriginal births, preterm birth rates were persistently (1.7-1.8 times) higher in Inuit, large-for-gestational-age birth rates were persistently (2.7-3.0 times) higher in First Nations births over the study period. Between 1996-2000 and 2006-2010, as compared to non-Aboriginal infants, the relative risk disparities increased for infant mortality (from 4.10 to 5.19 times) in Inuit, and for postneonatal mortality in Inuit (from 6.97 to 12.33 times) or First Nations (from 3.76 to 4.25 times) infants. Adjusting for maternal characteristics (age, marital status, parity, education and rural vs. urban residence) attenuated the risk differences, but significantly elevated risks remained in both Inuit and First Nations births for the risks of perinatal mortality (1.70 and 1.28 times, respectively), infant mortality (3.66 and 1.47 times, respectively) and postneonatal mortality (6.01 and 2.28 times, respectively) in Inuit and First Nations infants (all p<0.001).Aboriginal vs. non-Aboriginal disparities in adverse birth outcomes, perinatal and infant mortality are persistent or worsening over the recent decade in Quebec, strongly suggesting the needs for interventions to improve perinatal and infant health in Aboriginal populations, and for monitoring the trends in other regions in Canada.


Simon A.,University of Montréal | Chambellant M.,Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans | Chambellant M.,University of Manitoba | Ward B.J.,McGill University | And 7 more authors.
Parasitology | Year: 2011

Toxoplasmosis is a significant public health threat for Inuit in the Canadian Arctic. This study aimed to investigate arctic seals as a possible food-borne source of infection. Blood samples collected from 828 seals in 7 Canadian Arctic communities from 1999 to 2006 were tested for Toxoplasma gondii antibodies using a direct agglutination test. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to detect T. gondii DNA in tissues of a subsample of seals. Associations between seal age, sex, species, diet, community and year of capture, and serological test results were investigated by logistic regression. Overall seroprevalence was 10A.4% (86/828). All tissues tested were negative by PCR. In ringed seals, seroprevalence was significantly higher in juveniles than in adults (odds ratio=2A.44). Overall, seroprevalence varied amongst communities (P=0A.0119) and by capture year (P=0A.0001). Our study supports the hypothesis that consumption of raw seal meat is a significant source of infection for Inuit. This work raises many questions about the mechanism of transfer of this terrestrial parasite to the marine environment, the preponderance of infection in younger animals and the natural course of infection in seals. Further studies to address these questions are essential to fully understand the health risks for Inuit communities. © Copyright Cambridge University Press 2011.


Aenishaenslin C.,University of Montréal | Simon A.,University of Montréal | Forde T.,University of Calgary | Ravel A.,University of Montréal | And 4 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2014

Rabies is endemic throughout arctic areas including the region of Nunavik, situated north of the 55th parallel of Québec, Canada, and raises public health concerns. The aim of this paper is to provide a descriptive overview of the temporal and regional distributions of three important components of arctic rabies in Nunavik from 1999 to 2012, following a "One Health" approach: animal rabies tests and confirmed cases, dog vaccination, and human consultations for potential rabies exposures. Forty-four cases of rabies, involving mainly arctic and red foxes, were confirmed in animals during this period. The mean number of dogs vaccinated per 1,000 inhabitants was highly variable and lower in the Hudson region than the Ungava region. 112 consultations for potential rabies exposure were analyzed, of which 24 were exposure to a laboratory confirmed rabid animal. Children less than 10 years of age were the age group most commonly exposed. The median time between potential exposure and administration of the first post-exposure prophylaxis dose was four days. This study confirms that the risk of human exposure to rabid animals in Nunavik is present and underlines the need to follow a "One Health" approach to prevent rabies in humans in similar contexts worldwide. © 2014 International Association for Ecology and Health.


Chateau-Degat M.-L.,Laval University | Pereg D.,Laval University | Dallaire R.,Laval University | Ayotte P.,Laval University | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Research | Year: 2010

Background: Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) was used as a surfactant in various commercial products. In rodents, exposure to this compound induced various health effects, including hypolipidemia. In human populations, the potential toxicity of PFOS is not yet fully characterized, but indications of effects on lipids are reported. A recent study reported an increase in plasma cholesterol associated with exposure to perfluorinated compounds in humans exposed through drinking water, but similar effects were not reported in all exposed human populations. PFOS is widely distributed in the environment, including the arctic biota. The Inuit of Nunavik are exposed to environmental contaminants through the consumption of fish and game. This diet is also a source of ω3-polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) that are known to lower plasma triacylglycerols. Objective: This cross-sectional epidemiologic study aims at assessing the relationship between PFOS exposure and plasma lipids, while taking account of the concomitant hypolipidemic effect exerted by n-3 PUFAs. Methods: Plasma concentrations of PFOS and lipids were assessed in Nunavik Inuit adults (n=723) in the framework of a large-scale environmental health study. Associations of exposure levels to age, gender and selected wild food consumption associated with n-3 PUFAs intake, as well as the exposure on lipid levels were investigated by multivariate linear modeling. Results: In the Inuit population, PFOS exposure and n-3 PUFAs intake are related to traditional food consumption. Triacylglycerol and ratio of total cholesterol to high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels were negatively associated with PFOS plasma levels, while HDL-C levels were positively associated, after adjustment for circulating levels of n-3 PUFAs and for the interaction between gender and PFOS plasma levels. Other plasma lipids, such as low density lipoprotein-cholesterol and non-HDL-C were not related to PFOS plasma concentrations. Conclusion: The results of this study show a relationship between PFOS and plasma lipid levels in an environmentally exposed human population, and this effect appears distinct from that of n-3 PUFAs. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Auger N.,Institute National Of Sante Publique Du Quebec | Auger N.,University of Montréal | Park A.L.,Institute National Of Sante Publique Du Quebec | Park A.L.,University of Montréal | And 3 more authors.
CMAJ | Year: 2013

Background: Inuit and First Nations populations have higher rates of stillbirth than non-Aboriginal populations in Canada do, but little is known about the timing and cause of stillbirth in Aboriginal populations. We compared gestational age- and cause-specific stillbirth rates in Inuit and First Nations populations with the rates in the non-Aboriginal population in Quebec. Methods: Data included singleton stillbirths and live births at 24 or more gestational weeks among Quebec residents from 1981 to 2009. We calculated odds ratios (ORs), rate differences and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the retrospective cohort of Inuit and First Nations births relative to non-Aboriginal births using fetuses at risk (i.e., ongoing pregnancies) as denominators and adjusting for maternal characteristics. The main outcomes were stillbirth by gestational age (24-27, 28-36, ≥ 37 wk) and cause of death. Results: Rates of stillbirth per 1000 births were greater among Inuit (6.8) and First Nations (5.7) than among non-Aboriginal (3.6) residents. Relative to the non-Aboriginal population, the risk of stillbirth was greater at term (= 37 wk) than before term for both Inuit (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.9 to 4.8) and First Nations (OR 2.6, 95% CI 2.1 to 3.3) populations. Causes most strongly associated with stillbirth were poor fetal growth, placental disorders and congenital anomalies among the Inuit, and hypertension and diabetes among the First Nations residents. Interpretation: Stillbirth rates in Aboriginal populations were particularly high at term gestation. Poor fetal growth, placental disorders and congenital anomalies were important causes of stillbirth among the Inuit, and diabetic and hypertensive complications were important causes in the First Nations population. Prevention may require improvements in pregnancy and obstetric care. © 2013 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors.


PubMed | McGill University, Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services and ll International Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The European respiratory journal | Year: 2016

During a single year, a Canadian village had 34 individuals with microbiologically confirmed tuberculosis (TB) among 169 people with a new infection (20%). A contact investigation revealed multiple exposures for each person. We investigated whether the intensity of exposure might contribute to this extraordinary risk of disease.We carried out a case-control study using a public health database. Among those with a new infection, 34 had culture-confirmed TB (cases) and 118 did not progress to disease (controls). 17 patients with probable disease were excluded. Contact investigation data were utilised to tabulate the number of potential sources (total exposures). Generalised estimating equations with a logit link were used to identify associations between exposures and progression, and to investigate other potential risk factors.The median (interquartile range) number of total exposures was 15 (3-23) for cases and 3 (2-12) for controls (p=0.001). The adjusted OR for disease was 1.11 (95% CI 1.06-1.16) per additional exposure, corresponding to an OR of 3.4 for disease when comparing the medians of 15 versus 3 total exposures. This association increased when restricting to tuberculin skin test conversions.Increased exposure could be a marker of greater risk of progression to TB disease. Therefore, this risk may not be transportable across epidemiologic settings with variable exposure intensities.


PubMed | McGill University, Laboratoire Of Sante Publique Du Quebec, University of Montréal and Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

Nunavik, Qubec suffers from epidemic tuberculosis (TB), with an incidence 50-fold higher than the Canadian average. Molecular studies in this region have documented limited bacterial genetic diversity among Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates, consistent with a founder strain and/or ongoing spread. We have used whole-genome sequencing on 163 M. tuberculosis isolates from 11 geographically isolated villages to provide a high-resolution portrait of bacterial genetic diversity in this setting. All isolates were lineage 4 (Euro-American), with two sublineages present (major, n = 153; minor, n = 10). Among major sublineage isolates, there was a median of 46 pairwise single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) was in the early 20th century. Pairs of isolates within a village had significantly fewer SNPs than pairs from different villages (median: 6 vs. 47, P < 0.00005), indicating that most transmission occurs within villages. There was an excess of nonsynonymous SNPs after the diversification of M. tuberculosis within Nunavik: The ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitution rates (dN/dS) was 0.534 before the MRCA but 0.777 subsequently (P = 0.010). Nonsynonymous SNPs were detected across all gene categories, arguing against positive selection and toward genetic drift with relaxation of purifying selection. Supporting the latter possibility, 28 genes were partially or completely deleted since the MRCA, including genes previously reported to be essential for M. tuberculosis growth. Our findings indicate that the epidemiologic success of M. tuberculosis in this region is more likely due to an environment conducive to TB transmission than a particularly well-adapted strain.


Gagne D.,Laval University | Blanchet R.,Laval University | Lauziere J.,Laval University | Vaissiere E.,Laval University | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Circumpolar Health | Year: 2012

Objectives. To describe traditional food (TF) consumption and to evaluate its impact on nutrient intakes of preschool Inuit children from Nunavik. Design. A cross-sectional study. Methods. Dietary intakes of children were assessed with a single 24-hour recall (n = 217). TF consumption at home and at the childcare centres was compared. Differences in children's nutrient intakes when consuming or not consuming at least 1 TF item were examined using ANCOVA. Results. A total of 245 children attending childcare centres in 10 communities of Nunavik were recruited between 2006 and 2010. The children's mean age was 25.09±.6 months (11-54 months). Thirty-six percent of children had consumed at least 1 TF item on the day of the recall. TF contributed to 2.6% of total energy intake. Caribou and Arctic char were the most reported TF species. Land animals and fish/shellfish were the main contributors to energy intake from TF (38 and 33%, respectively). In spite of a low TF intake, children who consumed TF had significantly (p<0.05) higher intakes of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, and vitamin B12, and lower intakes of energy and carbohydrate compared with non-consumers. There was no significant difference in any of the socio-economic variables between children who consumed TF and those who did not. Conclusion. Although TF was not eaten much, it contributed significantly to the nutrient intakes of children. Consumption of TF should be encouraged as it provides many nutritional, economic, and sociocultural benefits. © 2012 Doris Gagné et al.

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