Jason J LeBlanc

Jason J LeBlanc
Nova Scotia Health · Division of Microbiology - Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Ph.D, FCCM, D(ABMM)

About

105
Publications
14,352
Reads
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1,591
Citations
Introduction
In collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Serious Outcomes Surveillance Network of the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN SOS), our clinical/research laboratory uses molecular and immunologic methods to support the surveillance of emerging respiratory diseases and vaccine-preventable illnesses, which enhances our understanding of pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of diseases, and provides data to help guide healthcare decisions and policies.
Additional affiliations
July 2010 - October 2020
Nova Scotia Health
Position
  • Managing Director
July 2010 - October 2020
Dalhousie University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
March 2007 - July 2008
Nova Scotia Health Authority
Position
  • Technical Specialist (Medical Laboratory Technologist)
Education
July 2008 - July 2010
Nova Scotia Health Authority
Field of study
  • Clinical Microbiology
September 2003 - April 2006
Dalhousie University
Field of study
  • Microbiology and Immunology (specialization in Molecular Pathogenesis)
September 2000 - April 2003
Université de Moncton
Field of study
  • Biochemistry

Publications

Publications (105)
Article
Full-text available
With emergence of pandemic COVID-19, rapid and accurate diagnostic testing is essential. This study compared laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) used for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Canadian hospital and public health laboratories, and some commercially available real-time RT-PCR assays. Overall, analytical sensitivities were equivalent between LD...
Article
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Given the global shortage of nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs typically used for respiratory virus detection, alternative collection methods were evaluated during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study showed that a combined oropharyngeal/nares swab is a suitable alternative to NP swabs for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, with sensitivities of 91.7% and 94.4%, re...
Article
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory disease coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has led to millions of confirmed cases and deaths worldwide. Efficient diagnostic tools are in high demand, as rapid and large-scale testing plays a pivotal role in patient management and decelerating disease spread. This paper r...
Article
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Antigen-based rapid diagnostics tests (Ag-RDTs) are useful tools for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection. However, misleading demonstrations of the Abbott Panbio coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Ag-RDT on social media claimed that SARS-CoV-2 antigen could be detected in municipal water and food products. To off...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has been hallmarked by several waves of variants of concern (VoCs), each with novel challenges. Currently, the highly transmissible Omicron VOC is predominant worldwide, and sore throat is common among other cold-like symptoms. Anecdotes on social media suggested sampling ones throat can increase sensitivity for Omicron detect...
Article
During the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid antigen tests have been widely used for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. These simple devices allow rapid test results.
Article
This quality project demonstrates that combining the results of nasal and throat swabs or using a combined single swab of the throat and nares resulted in increased detection of SARS-CoV-2 using a rapid antigen test, in an asymptomatic population. Importantly, no false positives were detected, and over 90% of people were willing to perform the comb...
Article
The world has experienced several waves of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoCs) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic since the first cases in December 2019. The Omicron VoC has increased transmission, compared to its predecessors, and can present with sore throat and other cold-like symptoms. Given the predominance of throat symptoms, and previous wor...
Article
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In July 2021, a PCR-confirmed case of locally acquired Babesia microti infection was reported in Atlantic Canada. Clinical features were consistent with babesiosis and resolved after treatment. In a region where Lyme disease and anaplasmosis are endemic, the occurrence of babesiosis emphasizes the need to enhance surveillance of tickborne infection...
Article
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Background We report characteristics and outcomes of adults admitted to Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) Ser-ious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) Network hospitals with COVID-19 in 2020. Methods Patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 admitted to 11 sites in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and Nova Scotia up to December 31, 2020 were enrolle...
Article
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Objective(s) In the context of age- and risk-based pneumococcal vaccine recommendations in Canada, this study presents updated data from active surveillance of pneumococcal community acquired pneumonia (pCAP) and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in hospitalized adults from 2010 to 2017. Methods S. pneumoniae was detected using culture (blood an...
Preprint
Objectives Antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs) have been widely used for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 during the Covid-19 pandemic. In settings of low disease prevalence, such as asymptomatic community testing, national guidelines recommend molecular confirmation of positive Ag-RDT results. This often requires patients to be recalled for...
Article
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Containment measures employed during the COVID-19 pandemic included prompt recognition of cases, isolation, and contact tracing. Bilateral nasal (NA) swabs applied to a commercial antigen-based rapid diagnostic test (Ag-RDT) offer a simpler and more comfortable alternative to nasopharyngeal (NP) collection; however, little is known about the sensit...
Preprint
The world has experienced several waves of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoCs) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic since the first cases in December 2019. The Omicron VoC has increased transmission, compared to its predecessors, and can present with sore throat and other cold-like symptoms. Given the predominance of throat symptoms, and previous wor...
Article
Full-text available
Background Pneumococcal vaccine recommendations in Canada include both age- and risk-based guidance. This study aimed to describe the burden of vaccine-preventable pneumococcal community acquired pneumonia (pCAP) and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) by age in hospitalized adults. Methods Active surveillance for all-cause CAP and IPD in hospital...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives: Antigen-based rapid diagnostics tests (Ag-RDTs) are useful tools for SARS-CoV-2 detection. However, misleading demonstrations of the Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Ag-RDT on social media claimed that SARS-CoV-2 antigen could be detected in municipal water and food products. To offer a scientific rebuttal to pandemic misinformation and disinform...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2) has led to more than 165 million COVID-19 cases and >3.4 million deaths worldwide. Epidemiological analysis has revealed that the risk of developing severe COVID-19 increases with age. Despite a disproportionate number of older individuals and long-term care facilities be...
Article
Full-text available
With increasing demands for SARS-CoV-2 testing, as well as the shortages for testing supplies, collection devices, and trained healthcare workers (HCWs) to collect specimens, self-collection is an attractive prospect to reduce the need for HCWs and expenditure of personal protective equipment. Apart from the traditional nasopharyngeal swab used for...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background As of March 2021, three SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) have been identified (B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1) and been detected in over 111 countries. Despite their widespread circulation, little is known about their transmission characteristics. There is a need to understand current evidence on VOCs before practice and policy decisions c...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2) has led to more than 114 million COVID-19 cases and over 2.5 million deaths worldwide. Epidemiological analysis has revealed that the risk of developing severe COVID-19 increases with age. Despite a disproportionate number of older individuals and long-term care facilities...
Article
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Abstract Background/objectives Influenza is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, particularly for older adults. Persistent functional decline following hospitalization has important impacts on older adults' wellbeing and independence, but has been under‐studied in relation to influenza. We aimed to investigate persistent functional...
Preprint
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Given the unprecedented demand for SARS-CoV-2 testing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of specimen pooling have recently been explored. As previous studies were limited to mathematical modeling or testing on low throughput PCR instruments, this study aimed to assess pooling on high throughput analyzers. To assess the impact of pooling, SA...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a worldwide shortage of nasopharyngeal swabs and universal transport media. This study evaluated a combined oropharynx/nares (OP/Na) sample collection using two readily-available non-flocked swabs, transported in phosphate-buffered saline, and demonstrates equivalent performance in SARS-CoV-2 detection compared to a...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Compared to the standard two-tier testing algorithm (STTT) for Lyme disease serology using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) followed by Western blot, data from the United States (US) suggests that a modified two-tiered testing (MTTT) algorithm employing two EIAs has improved sensitivity to detect early localized Borrelia burgdorferi infectio...
Article
Objective Older adults often have atypical presentation of illness and are particularly vulnerable to influenza and its sequelae, making the validity of influenza case definitions particularly relevant. We sought to assess the performance of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) criteria in hospitalized older adul...
Article
Background We examined frailty as a predictor of recovery in older adults hospitalized with influenza and acute respiratory illness. Methods A total of 5011 patients aged ≥65 years were admitted to Canadian Serious Outcomes Surveillance Network hospitals during the 2011/2012, 2012/2013, and 2013/2014 influenza seasons. Frailty was measured using a...
Article
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Background In Canada, 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) is recommended in childhood, in individuals at high risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and in healthy adults aged ≥65 years for protection against vaccine-type IPD and pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia (pCAP). Since vaccine recommendations in Canada include both...
Article
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Background In healthy adults aged ≥65 years, direct immunization with the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) was shown effective at preventing vaccine-type pneumococcal community-acquired pneumonia (pCAP) and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Although PCV13 was licensed for use in Canadian adults aged >50 years, it was recommended...
Article
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Background Streptococcus pneumoniae can colonizes the human nasopharynx, and can cause life-threatening infections like community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and invasive pneumococcal diseases (IPD). In Canada, the 13-valent conjugate vaccine (PCV13) was introduced in childhood immunization since 2010, with hopes that it would not only protect the vac...
Article
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Background: Recent studies have demonstrated the possibility of negative associations between prior influenza vaccines and subsequent influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE), depending on season and strain. We investigated this association over 4 consecutive influenza seasons (2011-2012 through 2014-2015) in Canada. Methods: Using a matched test-ne...
Article
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Background: The Serious Outcomes Surveillance Network of the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN SOS) has been performing active influenza surveillance since 2009 (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01517191). Influenza A and B viruses are identified and characterized using real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)...
Article
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Background: The 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) was recently shown to be effective against PCV13-type invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and pneumococcal community acquired pneumonia (CAPSpn) in healthy adults aged ≥65 years, prompting many countries to re-assess adult immunization. In Canada, the potential benefits of adult PCV1...
Article
Background: The effectiveness of influenza vaccination in reducing influenza-related hospitalizations among patients with COPD is not well described, and influenza vaccination uptake remains suboptimal. Methods: Data were analyzed from a national, prospective, multicenter cohort study including patients with COPD, hospitalized with any acute res...
Article
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Background Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacterium that causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Its capsular polysaccharides have been used successfully as vaccine antigens, and to characterize S. pneumoniae into 92 different serotypes. Phenotypic (Quellung reaction) or genotopic (PCR or sequencing) methods can be used for serotype as...
Article
Full-text available
Background To inform public health decision making around influenza prevention and treatment, ongoing surveillance of the influenza burden of disease and assessment of influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) is critical. The Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) Network conducts active surveillance each infl...
Article
Full-text available
Background Recent studies have shown that a 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) was effective at preventing vaccine-type pneumococcal community acquired pneumonia (CAPSpn) in healthy adults. With the anticipated herd immunity from routine infant immunization with PCV13 used since 2010, the benefits of adult immunization in Canada were...
Article
Background: Serotyping of Streptococcus pneumoniae is an integral part of disease surveillance, with over 92 serotypes characterized to date using traditional serotyping. To identify the most predominant disease causing serotypes, molecular serotyping methods are now increasingly being used, like conventional and real-time multiplex PCR (cmPCR and...
Article
Background: Ongoing assessment of influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) is critical to inform public health policy. This study aimed to determine the VE of trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV) for preventing influenza-related hospitalizations and other serious outcomes over three consecutive influenza seasons. Methods: The Serious Outcomes Surveilla...
Preprint
Full-text available
Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) are worldwide human enteric pathogens inflicting significant morbidity and causing large economic losses. A type 3 secretion system (T3SS) is critical for EPEC intestinal colonization, and injection of effectors into host cells contributes to cellular subversion and innate immune evasion. Here, we demonstrat...
Article
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Background: The Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) Network was established to monitor seasonal influenza complications among hospitalized Canadian adults and to assess the effectiveness of influenza vaccination against severe outcomes. Here we report age- and strain-specific vaccine effectiveness (VE) in preventing severe outcomes during a season...
Article
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Background: Consideration of cost determinants is crucial to inform delivery of public vaccination programs. Objectives: To estimate the average total cost of laboratory-confirmed influenza requiring hospitalization in Canadians prior to, during, and 30 days following discharge. To analyze effects of patient/disease characteristics, treatment, a...
Article
Serotyping of Streptococcus pneumoniae is important to monitor disease epidemiology and assess the impact of pneumococcal vaccines. Traditionally, the Quellung reaction used serotype-specific antibodies to classify S. pneumoniae based on differences in capsular antigens. More recently, PCR-based serotype deduction relying on serotype-specific capsu...
Article
Serology remains the mainstay for diagnosis of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. This study compared two automated platforms (BioPlex 2200 and Architect i2000SR) to test three EBV serological markers: viral capsid antigen (VCA) immunoglobulins of class M (IgM), VCA immunoglobulins of class G (IgG) and EBV nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) IgG. Using ser...
Article
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Background Recent controversy has arisen from observational studies suggesting a potential negative association between prior influenza vaccination and subsequent influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE). As immunologic theories suggest this impact could vary by season/strain, we investigated this association over 4 influenza seasons in Canada. Method...
Article
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Background Antiviral treatment of influenza in outpatient settings is associated with modest improvement in outcomes but benefit in inpatient settings remains unclear. We assessed the impact of antiviral treatment on the severe outcomes death and intensive care unit (ICU) admission and/or need for mechanical ventilation (MV) in hospitalized influen...
Article
Full-text available
Background Influenza virus activity varies seasonally and within season. Epidemiology of serious influenza outcomes is contingent on the prevalent circulating strain/s and susceptible age group/s. Given the strain variability over the 2011–2012 through 2013–2014 seasons in Canada, this study examined the clinical and epidemiological profiles of dif...
Article
Full-text available
Background Influenza vaccination programs aim to prevent serious outcomes. Given that frailty may impact recovery from influenza, we examined frailty as a predictor of recovery in older adults hospitalized with acute respiratory illness. Methods Data came from the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN) Serious Outcomes Surveillance (SOS) Ne...
Article
Full-text available
Background Pneumococcal community acquired pneumonia (CAP-Spn) and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although childhood immunization programs have reduced the overall burden of pneumococcal disease in both children and adults (through herd immunity), there is insufficient data in Canada to info...
Article
Background: Influenza is an important cause of morbidity and mortality among older adults. Even so, effectiveness of influenza vaccine for older adults has been reported to be lower than for younger adults, and the impact of frailty on vaccine effectiveness (VE) and outcomes is uncertain. We aimed to study VE against influenza hospitalization in o...
Article
Full-text available
Study design Detection and serotyping of Streptococcus pneumoniae are important to assess the impact of pneumococcal vaccines. This study describes the diagnostic accuracy of PCR-based detection of S. pneumoniae directly from nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs collected for respiratory virus studies. Methods Active surveillance for community-acquired pneum...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Pneumococcal community acquired pneumonia (CAPSpn) and invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. Although childhood immunization programs have reduced the overall burden of pneumococcal disease, there is insufficient data in Canada to inform immunization policy in immunocompetent adults. T...
Article
Importance: Legionella pneumophila is an environmental pathogen, with its transmission to the human host dependent upon its ability to replicate in protozoa and survive within its aquatic niche. Understanding the genetic factors that contribute to L. pneumophila survival within each of these unique environments will be key to limiting future point...
Article
Rapid and accurate detection of measles virus is important for case diagnosis and public health management. This study compared the performance of two monoplex RT-PCR reactions targeting the H and N genes to a duplex RT-PCR targeting both genes simultaneously. The duplex simplified processing without compromising assay performance characteristic.
Article
Full-text available
Conventional multiplex PCR (cmPCR) reactions have been developed to monitor the most predominant serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae causing invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). Since cmPCR assigns serotypes based on differences in the capsule biosynthesis (cps) loci, DNA extracted from clinical specimens can be used directly to monitor changes i...
Article
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. Norovirus is the leading cause of viral gastroenteritis, with GII.4 being the most common circulating genotype. Recently, outbreaks in China revealed that norovirus GII.17 GII.P17 had become predominant. Objective . This study aimed to characterize the distribution of norovirus genotypes circulating in Nova Scotia. Methods . Stool specimens were...
Article
Standardization of hemagglutination inhibition (HAI) assay for influenza serology is challenging. Poor reproducibility of HAI results from one laboratory to another is widely cited, limiting comparisons between candidate vaccines in different clinical trials and posing challenges for licensing authorities. In this study we standardized HAI material...
Data
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To identify norovirus GII.P17-GII.17, a dual target nomenclature was used based on sequences for the viral polymerase (Figure S1) and VP1 capsid (Figure 2). Figure S1 represents an alignment of the viral polymerase sequence of norovirus GII.P17-GII17 and related noroviruses. Figure S2 is an alignment of the GIIP17.GII.17 region corresponding to the...
Article
Recently, we identified a novel disulfide oxidoreductase, SdbA, in the oral bacterium Streptococcus gordonii. Disulfide oxidoreductases form disulfide bonds in nascent proteins using a CXXC catalytic motif. Typically, the N-terminal cysteine interacts with substrates, while the C-terminal cysteine is buried and only reacts with the first cysteine o...