Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems (PIDIRS) Program

The Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems program was implemented in 2007-2011 to evaluate how climate change could potentially increase the incidence and intensity of both water-borne diseases (such as E. coli) and vector-borne diseases (such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease) in Canada. It encouraged regional public health authorities to look more closely at how they could adapt to these particular climate-related threats and reduce or eliminate the threat they pose to public health through advance planning and preparation. The work of the Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems program included two components: regional pilot studies and university-based research.

Regional Pilot Studies

Executive Summary: Adapting to Climate Change: A Practical Approach to Address Vector-borne and Water-borne Disease Risk in Canada

For a copy of the full report, contact: healthandenvironment@phac-aspc.gc.ca

University based Research

The second component of the Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems program was academic research. Five universities (See table below) from across Canada participated in the Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems program to identify risks and to create decision-making tools to assess community vulnerability to water-borne and/or vector-borne diseases. The research focused on three main components:

  • identifying the relationship between climate and infectious diseases;
  • predicting and forecasting future risk of infectious diseases; and
  • creating public health tools for adaptation.
University
Research Project
McGill University
Predictive mapping of emerging and/or re-emerging mosquito-borne diseases in Canada.
University of Montreal
Decision-making tool at the community level to select appropriate and most cost-effective surveillance methods for Lyme disease and validation of risk maps for Lyme disease.
University of Saskatchewan
Identifying the risk now and predicting future risk of West Nile virus in the Prairie Provinces.
University of Victoria
Predicting water-borne disease risks under a changing climate at the community level.
York University
Creation of an early warning system to understand and predict how weather affects mosquito populations and subsequent West Nile virus risk for humans in Eastern Canada.

The research on the development of the tools is ongoing and the tools will be tested in public health regions.

For more information about the Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems please contact: healthandenvironment@phac-aspc.gc.ca

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