The effect of tick abundance and mammalian diversity on infectious disease risk in Quebec and Ontario

Speed talk
Part of:
11:20, Friday 20 Dec 2019 (5 minutes)
Global average temperature is rapidly rising prompting species to shift their ranges northward, thus increasing the frequency and spread of emerging infectious diseases. As temperatures warm, infectious diseases carried by ticks (e.g., Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Powassan Virus) are predicted to spread further into Canada due to the northward movement of the mammalian hosts transporting infected ticks. Over the past decade, the number of reported cases of infectious diseases transmitted by ticks in Canada has increased exponentially, with the greatest proportion of cases occurring in Quebec and Ontario. Continuous debate has centered on whether increased levels of mammalian host diversity and tick abundance at a location are linked to increased or decreased levels of disease risk. Field surveys were conducted at 16 field sites in Quebec and Ontario, with each site linked to different categorical levels of disease risk (low, moderate, or high risk). Data collected from tick dragging, small mammal trapping, and trail cameras will be used to establish the tick abundance and mammalian diversity at each field site. The relationship between tick abundance and mammalian diversity will be analyzed with respect to the categorical levels of disease risk for each of the field sites. Determining if contributing ecological factors such as tick abundance and mammalian diversity will be linked to increased levels of disease risk can provide more accurate predictions as to which regions in Quebec and Ontario might be most at-risk for infectious disease.

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