Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

The ecological niche of reported rabies cases in Canada is similar to Alaska.

Abstract

The ecology of rabies in the circumpolar North is still not well understood. We use machine learning, a geographic information system and data explicit in time and space obtained for reported rabies cases and predictors in Canada to develop an ecological niche model for the distribution of reported rabies cases in the American north (Alaska and Canada). The ecological niche model based on reported rabies cases in Canada predicted reported rabies cases in Alaska, suggesting a rather robust inference and even similar drivers on a continental scale. As found in Alaska, proximity to human infrastructure-specifically along the coast-was a strong predictor in the detection of rabies cases in Canada. Also, this finding highlights the need for a more systematic landscape sampling for rabies infection model predictions to better understand and tackle the ecology of this important zoonotic disease on a landscape scale at some distance from human infrastructure in wilderness areas.