LAboratory of Mathematical Parallel Systems

Modeling Studies of Climate and Environmental Impact on Transmission Dynamics and Control of Vector-borne Diseases

    1. About the project

    It is now generally acknowledged that the global climate is changing, as Earth becomes warmer. The climate-driven factors and weather extremes on local and regional scales can directly and indirectly cause injury, illness and deaths of humans.

    In addition to the multiple human, biological, and ecological determinants, there is growing concern that climate and environmental changes can significantly increase the risk of vector-borne diseases, as a function of changes in seasonal temperature, precipitation, humidity and vegetation, and other factors affecting the development of vectors and virus replication. Climate change also directly affects disease transmission by shifting the vector's geographic range and increasing reproduction and incidence rates and by shortening the pathogen incubation period. Of major concern is that these changes will affect the introduction and spread of many serious infectious diseases, including West Nile virus, Lyme disease and malaria. The recurring incidences of vector-borne diseases are sensitive to climate and environmental variations.

    The frequency and severity of extreme weather events are expected to increase as climate warms, leading to changes in the spatial-temporal patterns of diseases transmitted by vectors including blood-feeding mosquitoes and ticks, and other determinants of human health, which in turn increase pressure on our health care and public health systems.

    The study of climate change involves mathematics in fundamental and essential ways. Mathematics will play increasingly important roles in predicting the effects of climate change and in developing adaptation strategies. There is a real need to understand the basic principles that are at work before an accurate prediction and effective control strategy can be reached.

    The objective of this multi-phase interdisciplinary program is to address the health risks associated with vector-borne infectious diseases resulting from climate change.  The goal is to improve the understanding of the mechanisms and dynamics of changing risks and adaptations necessary to cope with infectious diseases attributed to, or exacerbated by, a changing climate.

    Led by Professor Huaiping Zhu, this multi-phase interdisciplinary research program at LAMPS presently consists of the following projects:

    • Develop Relational Database Managing System for West Nile virus The RDBMS will collect data on Mosquitoes, Birds, Humans, Weather and Environment for Southern Ontario.
    • Temporal and Spatial Data Analysis of the mosquito surveillance program in Southern Ontario
    • Statistical and Dynamical modeling studies for the transmission dynamics of West Nile virus with climate and environment
    • Parameter estimation; Dynamical, Statistical and Geo-Spatial model simulations, visualization and model prediction
    • Building up of the integrated real time early warning systems (EWS) for West Nile virus and other vector-borne diseases


    2. Major Funding and Support 

    • Canada's Clean Air Agenda: Pilot Infectious Disease Impact and Response Systems (PIDIRS) Program
      Public Health Agency of Canada 
      Modeling and Risk Assessment of West Nile Virus Transmission under Global Warming 
      [Project leader: Huaiping Zhu]
    • Early Research Award: Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario. 
      Modeling, Surveillance, Prediction and Control of West Nile Virus in Ontario.
      [Project leader: Huaiping Zhu]
    • LAMPS: LAboratory of Mathematical Parallel Systems 
      Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI): and Ontario Innovation Trust (OIT) 
      Parallel Computing Facility for Mathematical and Statistical Analysis of Complex Systems, Large Data Sets and Performance Analysis, 
      [Project leader: Huaiping Zhu]
    • Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS) 
      Transmission Dynamics and Spatial Spread of Infectious Diseases: Modeling, Prediction and Control; 
      [Project leader: Jianhong Wu]
    • CODIGEOSIM Project: Geosimulation tools for Simulating spatial-temporal spread patterns and evaluating health outcomes of communicable diseases 
      [Project leaders: Dongmei Chen and Jianhong Wu]
    • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC): 
      Bifurcation theory and related problems in mathematical biology


    3. Team members

    Faculty members: 

    Rick Bello

    Dept. Geography, York University


    Dept. Math & Stat, York University

    Xin Gao

    Dept. Math & Stat, York University

    Kaz Higuchi

    Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University and Environment Canada (AIRD)

    Pauline van den Driessche

    Dept. Math & Stat, University of Victoria

    Steven Wang

    Dept. Math & Stat, York University

    Jianhong Wu

    Dept. Math & Stat, York University

    Huaiping Zhu

    Dept. Math & Stat, York University

    Postodctoral Fellow of LAMPS

    Jiafeng Wang 
    Guihong Fan 
    Hui Wan 
    Alip Mohammed 

    Graduate Students

    Ahmed Abdelrazec, Ph.D. 
    Yurong Cao, Ph.D. 
    Chunhua Shan, Ph.D.

    Chunbo Yu, Master 
    Xian Zhang, Master


    4. Collaborations

    • PHAC: Foodborne, Waterborne and Zoonotic Infections Division 
      Public Health Agency of Canada 
      Environmental Issues Division (EID)
    • Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control 
      Public Health Agency of Canada
    • MOH: Vector-Borne Disease Unit, Infectious Diseases Branch 
      Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Ontario
    • Peel region Health Unit, Vector-borne Disease Team


    5. LAMPS weekly interdisplinary workshop

    • Modeling West Nile virus with Climate and Environmental Challenges


    6. eResources for Modeling Studies of West Nile Virus

    A web based reference systems for West Nile virus. The eResources provide a collection of information and knowledge base needed to conduct studies in the current research field. Since the modeling of West Nile Virus is a relatively young and active research field, references and access to factual information can help researchers and modelers achieve their objectives. There are a number of authoritative and detailed texts on various aspects of reference materials listed on the web. This link aims to provide an efficient portal for accessing reference materials specific to the needs of the researchers of LAMPS and CDM.



    7. Wiki for West Nile Virus


    8. Contact

    LAMPS welcome all who are interested in this interdisciplinary project.

    Dr. Huaiping Zhu 
    LAboratory of Mathematical Parallel Systems (LAMPS) 
    N532,& Ross Building 
    York University, 
    4700 Keele Street 
    Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3 
    416-736-2100, Ext: 20188