Why insect-transmitted illnesses are emerging threats in Canada and beyond – CBC

Lyme disease, West Nile, and an array of lesser-known infections are on the rise, scientists warn

Sep 09, 2023

When Kathryn McKissock’s six-year-old son Cameron didn’t feel like playing in his Oshawa, Ont., backyard this summer, she figured he was just tired. Then he spiked a fever, and started burying his head in his hands. McKissock had a hunch something was seriously wrong.

Cameron ended up being diagnosed with both meningitis and encephalitis, two dangerous forms of brain inflammation, and spent a month in a Toronto hospital. Medical teams didn’t know why her son got sick, until lab reports later revealed a culprit McKissock had never heard of before: Jamestown Canyon, a viral infection carried by mosquitoes.

McKissock was stunned. “They asked us if we traveled, if we had gone anywhere or did anything,” she said. “And we said the only place we have been is our backyard.”

This type of disease doesn’t occur often in Canada, federal data suggests. But scientists warn a slew of insect-transmitted infections are on the rise across North America, fuelled in part by higher temperatures that are helping mosquitos and ticks survive further north, and for longer periods of time.

Read more: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/why-insect-transmitted-illnesses-are-emerging-threats-in-canada-and-beyond-1.6959492

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