West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is a disease mainly spread to people through an infected mosquito’s bite. Mosquitoes can become infected by feeding on the blood of birds that carry the virus. Not all mosquitoes carry West Nile virus. The virus does not spread from person to person.

The Health Unit controls West Nile virus (WNV) in Brantford and  the County of Brant by monitoring mosquitoes in various sources of standing water around the community. We treat catch basins and storm water management ponds with pesticide in order to reduce the number of mosquitoes.

Within the City of Brantford there is a standing water bylaw to ensure that water does not accumulate and provide a place for mosquitoes to live. Standing water is when water sits still and is not moving or circulating for more than 48 hours or two days.

Examples of standing water are:

  • Bird baths that are not emptied and refilled at least every 48 hours
  • Pools that are filled and not circulating
  • Rain barrels with no screen cover

The bylaw does not apply to natural land forms like ponds and marshlands.

Find more information regarding WNV below:

Year Total number of pools tested Number of Positive Pools Number of Human Cases
2020 180 1 1
2021 196 2 0
2022 196 0 0
2023* Testing in Progress 1 0

*Stats are relevant as of August 2, 2023

Swimming Pools:

  • Open your swimming pool by mid-June or the latest, and keep the water circulating and treated with adequate sanitizers such as chlorine or bromine products, even if it is not being used.
  • Keep your pool cover drained of rainwater. You can purchase a small pump the water into a drain or your yard, or treat the water with a mosquito larvicide available to the public. This product is called AquaBac, and will be carried by various hardware stores.
  • If you do not plan to open your pool, cover it with a solid covering such as plywood to prevent mosquitos from accessing the water in the pool.
  • Turn over plastic wading pools when they’re not being used.
Ornamental Garden Ponds:
  • Always use a pump to continuously circulate the water.
  • Stock your pond with fish, frogs, or water bugs that will feed on mosquito larva. You must use a pump along with the fish to keep the water moving.
  • If you no longer wish to maintain the pond, fill it in or drain and cover it with a tight fitting tarp or solid material such as plywood.
  • Dispose of unwanted tires at the local landfill site.
  • Cover old tires with a tarp to prevent water from pooling inside them.
  • Drill holes in the bottom of the tires to allow rainwater to drain out.
Rain Barrels:
  • Keep rain barrels covered with a small mesh screen to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water.
  • Empty rain barrels if the water is more than a week old.
Bird Baths:
  • Change water every other day.
  • Clean the eavestroughs regularly to ensure the water flows through them and does not sit in the eavestrough.
  • Make sure eavestroughs are installed on a slight angle, allowing the water to flow to the downspout.
Outdoor Containers:
  • Cover any garbage, recycling or composting containers, to prevent water from accumulating in them.
  • Store items upside down or drill holes in the bottom of containers that must be left outdoors like flower pots, gardening cans, and wheelbarrows.
  • Use landscaping to eliminate water that collects in low areas on your property.
Mosquitoes can develop in any puddle that lasts more than 7-10 days during the summer.

Some birds, including crows and jays, may catch and die from West Nile virus. To report a bird who may have died from WNV, phone the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre at 1-866-673-4781.