The most important way to prevent a West Nile Virus (WNV) infection (CATIE) is to avoid mosquito bites:
Always follow product instructions. Apply repellent lightly to exposed skin and to clothing. Never use over cuts, wounds and sunburned or irritated skin. Avoid applying to children’s hands, face and eyes. If repellent gets in the eyes, rinse with water right away. When using a spray, avoid breathing it in, and always spray in a well-ventilated area. Don’t spray near food. Avoid prolonged use and wash repellent off daily.
Insect repellents containing N,N-Diethyl-meta-Toluamide (DEET) can be used safely when applied as directed and in the right concentration, depending on age.
Mosquitoes and ticks can be repelled by using an icaridin product. These products should not be used on infants younger than six months old.
Insect repellent may reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen. When using them together, sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before outdoor activities, followed by repellent just before going into an area with mosquitoes.
Children should always cover up and wear a hat to ensure protection from the sun. Products that combine insect repellent and sunscreen are not recommended.
For more specific information on insect repellents visit the Government of Canada website.
Mosquitoes develop in stagnant water. You can reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home if you eliminate stagnant water on your property.
Uncovered garbage containers and junk piles collect water in which mosquitoes can breed.
Poorly maintained pools and swimming pools can be breeding sites for mosquitoes.
Clogged gutters will accumulate water and create a place for mosquitoes to breed. Check flat roofs frequently for standing water.
Clean up and empty water in toys, birdbaths, tires, flowerpots, wheelbarrows, and other garden objects where mosquitoes can breed.
Fill in low depressions in lawn areas. Eliminate standing water in gutters or storm drains to prevent small ponds. Install screens over catch basins. Turn compost over frequently.
Repair any leaks to faucets and hoses to prevent possible breeding sites. Prevent water from pooling around downspouts and air conditioners.
Crawl spaces, attic vents, and broken screens allow mosquitoes to enter your home. If you don’t have screens, try to keep windows closed between dusk and dawn.
Since 2009, Ontario no longer conducts a West Nile Virus dead bird surveillance program.
If you find a dead bird on your property:
If Toronto Animal Services is picking up the dead bird, store the bird in a cool place until arrangements have been made for pick up.