The effects of climate change on avian migratory patterns and the dispersal of commercial poultry diseases in Canada – Part II.

Medhanie GA, McEwen SA, Weber L, Sanei B, Cooley L, Houghton S, Slavic D, Guerin MT. Worlds Poult Sci J 2013 Mar; 69(01):163–182.



Climate change has already provoked a northward shift in the geographic range of many bird species, and current climate projections favour the modification of avian distributions and migratory routes. Given that wild birds are recognised as pathogen-dispersing agents, there is concern that changes in migrant ranges and movement patterns will increase the frequency of bird-borne pathogens reaching Northern areas, such as Canada. Furthermore, climate change will likely affect vector, pathogen, and reservoir ecology, which could contribute to changes in the range limits, the intensity of disease transmission and, under some circumstances, the risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens affecting commercial poultry.

However, the role of wild birds in the perpetuation of disease is unclear. Even if climate change increases the introduction of zoonotic and bird-borne pathogens into Canada, it is difficult to predict whether this will increase the occurrence of diseases in poultry. It is likely that outbreaks will become more unpredictable, which will complicate efforts to identify periods and areas of high risk. Efforts to manage and control these events in the face of climate change will require proper biosecurity measures, in addition to more consistent surveillance of sentinel and high-risk carrier species to avert the potential risk of diseases dispersing into Canada.

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Posted in Publication, Publication Guerin, Publication Slavic.