West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus Information

Websites for further information:

If you would like to speak to someone regarding West Nile virus, contact the Northern Health Authority at 811 or visit their website at Health Link BC

What do I do if I Spot a Dead Bird?

To report a dead corvid (crow, raven, jay), please call the Northern Health Authority at 811 or report the information on-line to BC Centre for Disease Control.

How do I Properly Dispose of a Dead Bird?

People should never handle any dead bird or animal with bare hands. There is no evidence that people can get West Nile virus from handling live or dead infected birds. However, it is always best to be cautious as the virus could be on the beak, claws or feathers of the bird.

  • Make sure your hands and clothing do not touch the bird or its blood, secretions or feces.
  • Birds may be handled with heavy-duty leak-proof rubber gloves such as those used in house cleaning, or with a shovel.
  • Handle the bird so that the beak or claws do not puncture the gloves.
  • Bury the carcass approximately two feet deep where it will not be disturbed. It is not recommended that you use a vegetable garden for this purpose.
  • Do not put the bird in the garbage.

How Will I Know if West Nile Virus Has Been Found in BC?

The Northern Health Authority will notify the public if West Nile virus is detected in mosquitoes or crows anywhere within the region. For more information on West Nile virus and/or general health questions, please contact the Northern Health Authority at 811.

Protect Yourself Outdoors

  • Wear light coloured long-sleeve shirts, long pants, shoes and socks outdoors whenever possible.
  • Wear light-coloured, breathable clothing that allows moisture to evaporate.
  • Take precautions during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes tend to be most active.
  • Wear insect repellents when in areas where mosquitoes are likely to be found.

Use Insect Repellents Safely

  • Follow the instructions on the product label.
  • Apply only to exposed skin and clothing, and use just enough to cover skin/clothing.
  • Never apply to eyes, or cuts, wounds, sunburn or irritated skin.
  • Wash repellent off daily.
  • Some repellents, containing alternatives to DEET are approved by Health Canada, such as products with soya bean, or p-methane-3,8-diol. Alternative products are not recommended for children under the age of three.
  • Use repellents that contain DEET (n-N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) and follow directions on the product label. DEET can be poisonous if overused. Never use DEET on infants. Cream, lotion, or stick formulas are best. Mosquito netting can be used to cover baby strollers, etc.
  • At all times, check product labels for appropriate, safe application.

Source:  Health Canada
For more information please visit the Health Canada website.

Eliminate Mosquito Breeding Areas Around Your Home

  • Clean out eaves, gutters, and drains:
    • clear leaves, twigs and debris from eaves troughs, storm and roof gutters throughout the summer;
    • make sure drainage ditches are not clogged;
    • check flat roofs frequently for standing water.
  • Eliminate stagnant water:
    • empty water in toys, birdbaths, tires, flowerpots, wheelbarrows and other garden objects;
    • tires without rims can hold water and are a common place for mosquitoes to develop;
    • drill holes in the bottom of containers so water can't collect;
    • change water in birdbath frequently;
  • Repair screens:
    • check window and door screens and repair any holes;
    • ensure screens fit tightly into window or door frames;
    • if you don't have screens, endeavor to keep windows closed between dusk and dawn;
    • install screens on crawl spaces and attic vents.
  • Maintain yards and lawns:
    • fill in low depressions in lawn areas where water might collect;
    • eliminate standing water in gutters or storm drains;
    • install screens over catch basins (on private property).
  • Fix faucets and hoses:
    • repair any leaks to faucets and hoses to prevent possible water ponding;
    • prevent water from pooling around downspouts and air conditioners.
  • Keep your yard clean:
    • remove discarded tires and clean up junk piles that collect water;
    • cover containers or use lids to prevent water from collecting in the bottom of garbage cans;
    • use screen or fine mesh to cover rain barrels;
    • clean pet food and water bowls, and store them indoors when not in use.
  • Always inspect swimming or wading pools and ponds:
    • remove water that collects on pool covers;
    • make sure the pool pump is circulating water;
    • turn over wading pools when not in use.

Outdoor Safety

There are a number of things you and your family can do to ensure you are safe outdoors.  If you're going for a hike, check your local media or local visitor information centre at RDBN Visitor Information, for information and announcements regarding weather, and other risks in the RDBN area you are in, or going to, and stay alert for changing conditions. Let someone know your departure and anticipated return time, and your destination.  Always carry your basic emergency survival kit (create a link to the Emergency Survival Kit under the Prepare an Emergency Survival Kit section) when you are recreating outdoors! 

Be Safe and Have fun

Websites for further information:

Home Safety Rules



  • Stay in the kitchen when food is cooking on the stovetop and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.
  • Pot handles should be turned inward so they can't be bumped or grabbed by children.
  • Create a "kid-free" zone in the kitchen by measuring 1 metre around the stove, children and pets should stay outside the "kid-free" zone when grown-ups are cooking.
  • Ensure potholders and oven mitts are within easy reach of the stove.
  • Make sure all fireplaces have a sturdy metal or glass screen that will keep sparks from flying into the room.
  • Check chimney and heating systems at least once a year and get them cleaned, if needed, by trained professionals.
  • Propane tanks and other fuels such as gasoline should be stored outside the home in an approved safety container.
  • Make sure extension cords are not running across a doorway or under a carpet.
  • Check electrical cords for loose, worn, or frayed cords. UNPLUG the cord before inspection.
  • Make sure kitchen appliances, such as toasters, or coffee makers, are unplugged when not being used.
  • Check all smoke alarms at least once a month to ensure they are working.
  • Check the expiry date on your fire extinguisher every six months.
  • Make sure your emergency ladders are working properly
  • Post all emergency telephone numbers beside each telephone in the home.
  • Work with your family to develop a home fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room and a meeting place outside the home.
  • Remember in the event of a fire call 9-11 from outside the home using a cellular phone or ask your neighbour if you can use their phone.
  • Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

Websites for further information:

Health Canada Emergency Services
Public Safety Canada