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Millins C.,University of Saskatchewan | Reid A.,Ontario Veterinary College | Curry P.,Saskatchewan Ministry of Health | Drebot M.A.,Public Health Agency of Canada | And 3 more authors.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases | Year: 2011

This study evaluated the use of house sparrow (Passer domesticus) nestlings as sentinels of West Nile virus (WNV) in the prairie grasslands of Saskatchewan. In the summer of 2006, 600 house sparrow nestlings were collected and pooled tissues tested by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. All tested negative for WNV. During the same period, no WNV was detected by mosquito surveillance in the study area and 15 WNV-infected pools were collected from the nearby city of Estevan. Six percent of avian carcasses collected from Regina, a city 100 km from the study area in the same ecozone, were infected with WNV. In 2007, 200 house sparrow nestlings were collected and 4 tested positive for WNV, a prevalence of 2%. Ninety-seven house sparrow eggs were also collected and WNV antibodies were measured in the yolk. Seven eggs had measurable titers, a prevalence of 7.2%. Combined WNV surveillance showed high levels of WNV transmission in 2007; 112 WNV-infected mosquito pools were collected from nearby cities of Estevan and Weyburn, and the proportion of WNV infected avian carcasses from Regina was 78%. There were 1456 human cases of WNV in Saskatchewan in 2007, compared to 19 cases in 2006. The study concluded that house sparrow nestlings are not useful as an early warning of WNV circulation, or as a measure of the intensity of WNV activity in the prairie grasslands. Also, the study determined that maternally derived antibody did not have a significant limiting effect on WNV transmission to house sparrow nestlings in 2007, a year of epidemic WNV activity in the study area. © Copyright 2011, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source


Chen C.C.,University of Saskatchewan | Jenkins E.,University of Saskatchewan | Epp T.,University of Saskatchewan | Waldner C.,University of Saskatchewan | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2013

The Canadian prairie provinces of Manitoba, SK, and Alberta have reported the highest human incidence of clinical cases of West Nile virus (WNV) infection in Canada. The primary vector for WVN in this region is the mosquito Culex tarsalis. This study used constructed models and biological thresholds to predict the spatial and temporal distribution of Cx. tarsalis and WNV infection rate in the prairie provinces under a range of potential future climate and habitat conditions. We selected one median and two extreme outcome scenarios to represent future climate conditions in the 2020 (2010-2039), 2050 (2040-2069) and 2080 (2070-2099) time slices. In currently endemic regions, the projected WNV infection rate under the median outcome scenario in 2050 raised 17.91 times (ranged from 1.29-27.45 times for all scenarios and time slices) comparing to current climate conditions. Seasonal availability of Cx. tarsalis infected with WNV extended from June to August to include May and September. Moreover, our models predicted northward range expansion for Cx. tarsalis (1.06-2.56 times the current geographic area) and WNV (1.08-2.34 times the current geographic area). These findings predict future public and animal health risk of WNV in the Canadian prairie provinces. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source


Chen C.-C.,University of Saskatchewan | Epp T.,University of Saskatchewan | Jenkins E.,University of Saskatchewan | Waldner C.,University of Saskatchewan | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2013

The Canadian prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have generally reported the highest human incidence of West Nile virus (WNV) in Canada. In this study, environmental and biotic factors were used to predict numbers of Culex tarsalis Coquillett, which is the primary mosquito vector of WNV in this region, and prevalence of WNV infection in Cx. tarsalis in the Canadian prairies. The results showed that higher mean temperature and elevated time lagged mean temperature were associated with increased numbers of Cx. tarsalis and higher WNV infection rates. However, increasing precipitation was associated with higher abundance of Cx. tarsalis and lower WNV infection rate. In addition, this study found that increased temperature fluctuation and wetland land cover were associated with decreased infection rate in the Cx. tarsalis population. The resulting monthly models can be used to inform public health interventions by improving the predictions of population abundance of Cx. tarsalis and the transmission intensity of WNV in the Canadian prairies. Furthermore, these models can also be used to examine the potential effects of climate change on the vector population abundance and the distribution of WNV.© 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source


Chen C.-C.,University of Saskatchewan | Epp T.,University of Saskatchewan | Jenkins E.,University of Saskatchewan | Waldner C.,University of Saskatchewan | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Medical Entomology | Year: 2012

West Nile virus (WNV) spread across most of North America within a short time period after its incursion into the Western Hemisphere. The Canadian prairies had the highest human incidence of WNV disease in Canada, particularly in 2007. Statistical modeling and geographic information systems can be used to develop a predictive model and facilitate the mobilization of targeted disease management strategies. Using data collected between 2005 and 2008, we constructed models integrating abiotic and biotic factors to predict the WNV infection rate in female Culex tarsalis Coquillett, the primary vector of WNV in the Canadian prairies. During the study period, the highest mean Cx. tarsalis infection rate was during week 34 (late August). The Cx. tarsalis infection rate increased with increasing Cx. tarsalis abundance and mean temperature lagged from 1 to 8 wk, but decreased with increasing mean precipitation lagged from 2 to 6 wk. Furthermore, precipitation was a 'distorter variable' that altered the association between Cx. tarsalis abundance and the WNV infection rate. Our model clarified how weather influenced the Cx. tarsalis infection rate in the Canadian prairies, a newly and highly WNV endemic region of North America. An understanding of the role of lagged weather variables was essential for providing sufficient lead time to predict WNV occurrence, and for implementing disease control and prevention strategies. Furthermore, it is a useful tool for assessing the potential effects of future climate change on WNV in areas near its northern distributional limit. © 2012 Entomological Society of America. Source


Dergousoff S.J.,University of Saskatchewan | Galloway T.D.,University of Manitoba | Lindsay L.R.,Public Health Agency of Canada | Curry P.S.,Saskatchewan Ministry of Health | Chilton N.B.,University of Saskatchewan
Journal of Medical Entomology | Year: 2013

Distributional ranges of the ticks Dermacentor andersoni Stiles and Dermacentor variabilis (Say) in the Canadian Prairies were determined by passive surveillance and active collection. These findings were compared with historical records of both species, particularly in the province of Saskatchewan, where the northern distributional limits of both tick species occur. Before the 1960s, D. variabilis and D. andersoni were allopatric in Saskatchewan; however, since then, the distribution of D. variabilis has expanded westward and northward. Although the range of D. andersoni has remained relatively stable, range expansion of D. variabilis has resulted in a zone of sympatry at least 200 km wide. Twenty-nine species of mammals and three species of birds were identified as hosts for different life stages of these ticks. © 2013 Entomological Society of America. Source

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