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Published Online: 26 June 2019

Influence of Demography, Land Use, and Urban Form on West Nile Virus Risk and Human West Nile Virus Incidence in Ottawa, Canada

Publication: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Volume 19, Issue Number 7


Human infection by West Nile virus (WNV; family Flaviviridae), in some cases, develops into a deadly neuroinvasive disease. WNV risk is thought to be influenced by factors affecting the density of species that promote replication and transmission of the virus, namely peridomestic bird and mosquito species. Factors influencing contact between peridomestic bird and mosquito species and contact between infected mosquitoes and vulnerable human populations may also be important in determining WNV risk in an area. Several urban form and demographic factors, such as population density and the proportion of aged housing units, have been linked with increased WNV risk. Other factors, such as proportion of old-growth forest and wetlands, have been linked to decreased WNV risk. In this study, we aimed to test the effect of several demographic, land use, and urban form variables on WNV risk within neighborhoods of the city of Ottawa, Canada, based on the spatiotemporal clustering of infected mosquitoes and human WNV cases. We found a large positive effect of population density and proportion of aged housing units on WNV risk, using both entomological and epidemiological data. Interestingly, we found a large negative effect of proportion of natural areas in our epidemiological analysis, but not in our entomological analysis. Although our epidemiological data set was relatively small, these results suggest entomological surveillance results should be interpreted alongside other factors when investigating risk to humans. Our study is also one of the few to suggest an effect of demography, land use, and urban form on WNV risk in a Canadian urban center, using both entomological and epidemiological data.

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Information & Authors


Published In

cover image Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Volume 19Issue Number 7July 2019
Pages: 533 - 539
PubMed: 30615572


Published in print: July 2019
Published online: 26 June 2019
Published ahead of print: 22 January 2019


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Benoit Talbot [email protected]
School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Mark Ardis
GDG Environnement, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada.
Manisha A. Kulkarni
School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Address correspondence to: Benoit Talbot, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa, 600 Peter Morand Crescent, Ottawa, ON K1G 5Z3, Canada [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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