Climate change and malaria in Canada: a systems approach

2009 January 4

Berrang-Ford, L., MacLean, D., Gyorkos, T., Ford, J., and Ogden, N. (2009). Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases 1-13. Download PDF.

This article examines the potential for changes in imported and autochthonous malaria incidence in Canada as a consequence of climate change. Drawing on a systems framework, we qualitatively characterize and assess the potential direct and indirect impact of climate change on malaria in Canada within the context of other concurrent ecological and social trends. Competent malaria vectors currently exist in southern Canada, including within this range several major urban centres, and conditions here have historically supported endemic malaria transmission. Climate change will increase the occurrence of temperature conditions suitable for malaria transmission in Canada, which, combined with trends in international travel, immigration, drug resistance, and inexperience in both clinical and laboratory diagnosis, may increase malaria incidence in Canada and permit sporadic autochthonous cases. This conclusion challenges the general assumption of negligible malaria risk in Canada with climate change.
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