Watch For Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Canada

Person using bug spray on clothes in a field

Written by: Sulayman Mehboob, B.Sc., M.Sc. - Microbiologist


There are nearly 80 different types of mosquito species in Canada. Most of them bite and feed on the blood of mammals and humans. Besides getting uncomfortable, bites from mosquitoes can lead to some other problems. Something as simple as scratching for instance, can cause infections at the site where you were bitten. In some cases, individuals may have a severe allergic reaction to the saliva of mosquitoes. This can also be life threatening. Mosquitoes can carry diseases that pass to humans . These are called Mosquito-Borne Diseases.

Most Common Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Canada

The most common mosquito-borne disease found in Canada is the West Nile virus. Other mosquito-borne infections in Canada are the Eastern Encephalitis virus, Western Encephalitis virus and the St. Louis Equine Encephalitis virus.

West Nile virus (WNV), Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) and the California serogroup viruses (CSGV) are the main causes of the infection in North America. All four mosquito-borne diseases are endemic in parts of Canada with a 10% increase in incidence observed over the last 20 years, largely attributed to climate change.(1). Endemic mosquito-borne diseases in Canada have complex cycles of transmission, because these viruses circulate between specific avian or mammal hosts and the mosquito vectors.

West Nile Virus (WNV)

The first case in humans of West Nile virus infection in Canada was reported in Ontario in 2002. The government currently has data on West Nile virus cases reported between 2002 and 2021(5)






35 cases


124 cases


163 cases


5 cases


45 cases


14 cases


437 cases


37 cases


202 cases


2401 cases


162 cases


151 cases


84 cases


238 cases


23 cases


20032 cases


114 cases


1488 cases


454 cases


414 cases

**These numbers may vary slightly as provincial or territorial public health organizations can sometimes retroactively identify cases.

Close up of a Mosquito on a green leaf

Eastern & Western equine encephalitis virus (EEEV)

EEEV is distributed widely throughout North, Central, and South America; the Caribbean region; the coastal region of eastern Canada; Poland; the former USSR; Thailand; the Philippines; and the former Czechoslovakia. (2)(3) In Canada, the infections from EEEV occur mainly in the spring season and are associated with birds that are migrating from the southern United States to northern Canada. (2) WEEV virus is widely spread in North and South America but is absent from the Central American region. (2)  

California Serogroup

As of October 24th, 2021, a single human case of the California serogroup virus was diagnosed by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Ontario, Canada.

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About The Author:

Sulayman Mehboob, B.Sc., M.Sc. - Microbiologist

Sulayman has done research on various science projects and has been published in well-reputed journals. Currently, he is doing research on animals and insects on various topics and some of his research projects have been completed and are under review in the top journals. He loves researching plants and animals, and his aim is to continue deep study in this field.

References And Citations: 

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. Mosquito-borne diseases surveillance report: Annual Edition, 2019 Preliminary. Ottawa, Canada. February 2022.
  2. Krauss, H., Weber, A., Appel, M., Enders, B., Isenberg, H. D., Schiefer, H. G., Slenczka, W., Graevenitz, A. V., & Zahner, H. (2003). Viral Zoonoses: Zoonoses caused by Alphaviruses. Zoonoses: Infectious diseases tranmissible from animals to humans (3rd ed., pp. 6-24). Washington, D.C.: ASM press.
  3. Petersen, L. R., & Gubler, D. J. (2003). Infection: Viruses: Alphaviruses. In D. A. Warrel, T. M. Cox, J. D. Firth & E. J. Benz (Eds.), Oxford Text Book of Medicine (4th ed., pp. 377- 379). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from
  4. Public Health Agency of Canada. Mosquito-borne Disease Surveillance Report: Biweekly Edition (Week 39 to 42). Ottawa, Canada. November 9, 2021.

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