June 6, 2016

Bulletin Board

Government of Canada Provides Free On-Line Access to 14 Scientific Journals

The Government of Canada is providing free access for Canadians to the 14 journals published by NRC Research Press, a service offering of the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI). Beginning January 1, 2001, the peer-reviewed journals, which cover a wide range of scientific disciplines, will be free to anyone with a Canadian IP (Internet Protocol) address. Previously, the journals were available only by subscription, site license or on a pay-per-view basis for individual articles. NRC Research Press is the foremost scientific publisher in Canada and one of the most advanced electronic publishing services in the world. Free access to the journals is made possible by funding from the Depository Services Program of Public Works and Government Services Canada. This initiative was made possible with the support of the Treasury Board of Canada, which is responsible for overseeing the policies under which the Depository Services Program operates.

Bruce Dancik, Editor-in-Chief for NRC Research Press and Associate Vice-President (Academic) at the University of Alberta calls the agreement “an important initiative that brings top-quality international science within easy reach of all Canadians. The agreement serves as a model for national site licenses in other countries.”

Bruno Gnassi, Director, Depository Services Program says, “This agreement marks an important milestone in the evolution of the public’s access to Government of Canada information. It positions Canadians to have fair and equitable access to the full richness and diversity of the Government of Canada’s published scientific digital information, and ensures that in the twenty-first century the Depository library network can now serve Canadians¬†even better.”

The Depository Services Program is one of Canada’s oldest and most effective public access partnerships. Working hand in hand with government departments and agencies, government publishers, and Canada’s library community the Depository Services Program puts government publications within easy reach of all Canadians.

NRC has been publishing peer-reviewed international science for the past 70 years. In addition to the journals, the Press publishes a growing number of books and scientific conference proceedings each year. In 1994 NRC Research Press became part of the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, one of the world’s largest providers of scientific, technical and medical information.

Canadians can currently access the 14 journals at http://researchpress.nrc.ca/ .They are:

  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology
  • Canadian Geotechnical Journal
  • Canadian Journal of Botany
  • Canadian Journal of Chemistry
  • Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering
  • Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences
  • Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
  • Canadian Journal of Forest Research
  • Canadian Journal of Microbiology
  • Canadian Journal of Physics
  • Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Canadian Journal of Zoology
  • Environmental Reviews
  • Genome

Further details will be available in fall, prior to the launch of the service.

For more information contact:

Aldyth Holmes

Director, NRC Research Press

National Research Council of Canada

(613) 993-1931






James P. Goltz

In mid August, some wild crows were found dead on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo in New York city, but phone reports of dead crows elsewhere in the city had begun earlier in the summer. Around the same time, there were reports of encephalitis, originally thought to be St. Louis encephalitis, in humans. By late August, crow deaths were reported in multiple areas in New York state. Deaths in captive birds began in the Bronx Zoo in early September and continued over a three-week period. Horse deaths, initially attributed to a parasitic infection transmitted by opossums, began in New York state in late August. West Nile Virus was isolated from crows, other wild birds, zoo birds, humans, horses and mosquitoes, and is now known to be the cause of these disease problems and mortality.

What is West Nile Virus and why is it cause for concern? It is a virus that may cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and is spread only by the bites of infected arthropods, mainly mosquitoes (at least 43 species worldwide) and, to a lesser extent, ticks. There is no evidence of direct animal to animal, or animal to human transmission. Wild birds are the primary hosts but the virus may also infect humans, domestic fowl, some domestic mammals (e.g., horses, cats), and non-human primates. In humans, West Nile Virus may cause mild disease with fever, frontal headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and skin rash, and less commonly may result in severe disease that is marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions, paralysis and death. Disease is usually more severe in the elderly. The incubation period (between infection and the onset of disease) in humans is usually 5 to 15 days. No approved vaccines against this virus are available for use in humans or animals.

Prior to 1999, the virus was only reported from Africa, Asia and Europe, and had never been found in the Western Hemisphere.

The 1999 New York area outbreak of West Nile Virus caused disease in at least 60 people and resulted in 7 human deaths, including one Canadian who visited New York from Toronto. It likely killed at least 5000 wild birds, mainly American Crows, but also caused deaths in at least 17 other species of native wild (Blue Jay, Fish Crow, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Rock Dove, American Robin, Red-tailed Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Belted Kingfisher) and captive (Bald Eagle, Laughing Gull, Sandhill Crane, Black-crowned Night Heron, Mallard) birds, as well as Chilean flamingos and unspecified species of pheasants and cormorants. The virus killed at least one cat and caused disease in at least 22 horses (at least 10 of which died or had to be euthanized), while at least 21 other horses became infected without showing any sign of disease. Although most cases of disease and death in humans and animals occurred in New York state, some bird mortality was also detected in nearby New Jersey and Connecticut, and one affected dead crow was found in Maryland.

Health officials responded to the West Nile Virus outbreak with public education campaigns, surveillance of mosquitoes and dead birds, and mosquito control programs. It is not known how the virus arrived in the New York area but it is hypothesized that it may have been introduced by migrating birds, legal or illegal imports of birds, a viremic person, or the transport of infected mosquitoes via aircraft. Consequently, several countries have adopted measures to prevent importation of the virus from New York.

It is now known that West Nile virus successfully overwintered in Connecticut and the New York area. Canadian public health officials fear that this virus may be brought to eastern Canada next spring by migrating birds infected with the virus. As in mammals, not all infected birds will become sick or die. Wildlife agencies and entomologists in the southern United States were organized to help with surveillance of wild birds and mosquitoes this past winter (to date, West Nile virus was not detected there). Similar efforts for eastern Canada will likely be carried out in the spring and summer.

What can be done to safeguard against and prepare for West Nile Virus? It is important to be well informed, and to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by adopting personal protective measures when engaging in outdoor activities where mosquitoes are likely to be encountered, especially at dawn, at dusk and at night (and especially if travelling to areas where the virus is known to occur).

In addition, please keep watch for any warning signs that our American Crow population may provide. Unusual outbreaks of crow mortality should be reported to Dr. Jim Goltz at the Provincial Veterinary Laboratory [(506) 453-5412] or Dr. Pierre-Yves Daoust of the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (located at the Atlantic Veterinary College) [(902) 566-0667], especially if neurologic disease is suspected. Suspect dead birds should be placed in leakproof plastic bags and promptly refrigerated until they can be delivered to a laboratory for testing. Remember, there’s no need to worry about catching the West Nile Virus directly from wild birds; however, avoiding handling any sick or dead animal with your bare hands will help prevent the transmission of other possible diseases.

The following internet links are provided for those who would like additional information on West Nile Virus: