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Can Commun Dis Rep. 2019 Apr 4;45(4):98-107. doi: 10.14745/ccdr.v45i04a04. eCollection 2019 Apr 4.

Could exotic mosquito-borne diseases emerge in Canada with climate change?

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National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Guelph, ON, St. Hyacinthe, QC and Winnipeg, MB.
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON.


Of the 3,500 species of mosquitoes worldwide, only a small portion carry and transmit the mosquito-borne diseases (MBDs) that cause approximately half a million deaths annually worldwide. The most common exotic MBDs, such as malaria and dengue, are not currently established in Canada, in part because of our relatively harsh climate; however, this situation could evolve with climate change. Mosquitoes native to Canada may become infected with new pathogens and move into new regions within Canada. In addition, new mosquito species may move into Canada from other countries, and these exotic species may bring exotic MBDs as well. With high levels of international travel, including to locations with exotic MBDs, there will be more travel-acquired cases of MBDs. With climate change, there is the potential for exotic mosquito populations to become established in Canada. There is already a small area of Canada where exotic Aedes mosquitoes have become established although, to date, there is no evidence that these carry any exotic (or already endemic) MBDs. The increased risks of spreading MBDs, or introducing exotic MBDs, will need a careful clinical and public health response. Clinicians will need to maintain a high level of awareness of current trends, to promote mosquito bite prevention strategies, and to know the laboratory tests needed for early detection and when to report laboratory results to public health. Public health efforts will need to focus on ongoing active surveillance, public and professional awareness and mosquito control. Canadians need to be aware of the risks of acquiring exotic MBDs while travelling abroad as well as the risk that they could serve as a potential route of introduction for exotic MBDs into Canada when they return home.


Aedes albopictus; Anopheles species; Canada; Culex mosquitoes; climate change; exotic vectors; international travel; mosquito-borne disease

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