Mosquito populations are sensitive to long-term variations in climate and short-term variations in weather. Mosquito abundance is a key determinant of outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus (WNV). In this work, the short-term impact of weather conditions (temperature and precipitation) on Culex pipiens L.-Culex restuans Theobald mosquito abundance in Peel Region, Ontario, Canada, was investigated using the 2002–2009 mosquito data collected from the WNV surveillance program managed by Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and a gamma-generalized linear model. There was a clear association between weather conditions (temperature and precipitation) and mosquito abundance, which allowed the definition of threshold criteria for temperature and precipitation conditions for mosquito population growth. A predictive statistical model for mosquito population based on weather conditions was calibrated using real weather and mosquito surveillance data, and validated using a subset of surveillance data. Results showed that WNV vector abundance on any one day could be predicted with reasonable accuracy from relationships with mean degree-days >9°C over the 11 preceding days, and precipitation 35 d previously. This finding provides optimism for the development of weather-generated forecasting for WNV risk that could be used in decision support systems for interventions such as mosquito control.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2