Burden Ethnographic Modeling Evaluation Qaujilisaaqtuq (BEMEQ) RSV: The Nunavut burden study

High proportion of infants in Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic are admitted to hospitals with acute respiratory tract infection (ARIs), such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is the most common cause of severe ARI in young children worldwide, particularly in the first year of life. Due to the remoteness and complex referral care pathways experienced by many communities in Nunavut, infants admitted with these respiratory infections often require transport out of territory and intensive care, which are disruptive to families, expensive and may increase the likelihood of severe outcomes. Estimates of RSV in Nunavut are limited by study design, including the focus on specific sub-territory regions, being conducted only over one season, or not capturing other viral causes of respiratory disease. Our project aims to identify the respiratory infection admissions at all hospitals serving Nunavummiut children under one year of age from 2010-2020 in order to better understand effective methods to reduce the burden.

Our team conducted a cross-country hospital chart review at the six hospitals serving the population of Nunavut: Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Montreal Children’s Hospital in Quebec, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, Winnipeg Children’s Hospital in Manitoba, and Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. Our research covers 10 years of hospital admissions – the largest review of the burden among infants from Nunavut. Additionally, our review is the most comprehensive to date, covering both tertiary and regional hospitals, the latter of which have not always been included.

Publications and presentations:

Kinshella MW, Allen J, Miners A, Sheffield H, Scott D, Papenburg J, Embree J, Jetty R, Robinson J, Pawa J, Goldfarb D. Hospital admissions for acute respiratory tract infections among infants from Nunavut and the burden of respiratory syncytial virus: a 10 year chart review in regional and tertiary hospitals. In progress. 

Goldfarb D and Kinshella MW. Burden Ethnographic Modeling Evaluation Qaujilisaaqtuq (BEMEQ) RSV: The Nunavut burden study. Stakeholders presentation to the Government of Nunavut, Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated and the Nunavut Research Institute; 2023 Apr 25; Iqaluit, Canada.

Goldfarb D and Kinshella MW. 10-year review of acute RTI in infants from Nunavut. Stakeholders presentation to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Infectious Disease Group; 2023 Jun 19 ; Ottawa, Canada.


First Nations land acknowledegement

Action on Sepsis operates on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples — xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We invite everyone to reflect on the traditional territories and land that they currently work and live on.

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