Impacts of Canada’s changing climate on West Nile Virus vectors
Document by Leah Rosenkrantz – Nov 10, 2022 Download Document
Habitat suitability for Cx. pipiens, Cx. restuans, Cx. tarsalis and Ae. albopictus is predicted to expand as a result of Canada’s warmer climate and more frequent and extreme weather events. As a result, WNV is likely to emerge in areas where previously no risk existed, and increase in areas where risk was once low.
Climate-change-induced events such as increased annual and seasonal temperature, heat waves, droughts, and heavy periods of rainfall may also amplify WNV risk, though timing and location are critical determinants among others that modulate risk. More research is needed to determine the current and future habitat of these four species in Canada, as well as the impacts of specific climate-change-induced trends on WNV risk in the Canadian context.
As extreme weather events are expected to become more frequent, it is important to reinforce WNV control and monitoring efforts in places where the virus is already established, and enhance monitoring in places where it is possible to become established.100 Environmental public health professionals should work with health providers to communicate where WNV-positive vector populations are increasing to enable more timely diagnoses when a patient presents with symptoms to their physician. Surveillance at points of entry into Canada is also needed to limit the spread of non-native vectors into Canada.
Finally, a consolidated approach to sharing information across Canada is also necessary to minimize risk and increase preparedness, should an outbreak occur. This will require increased communication between municipal, provincial, and academic partners involved in surveillance activities, and priority setting among these groups to establish future surveillance initiatives.
About the NCCEH
The NCCEH is one of six National Collaborating Centres created to foster linkages within the public health community. All centres are funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) through the National Collaborating Centres for Public Health (NCCPH) program. NCCEH uses a documented, protocol-driven approach to producing its knowledge products . Tracking, feedback and peer review are integral components of the process.