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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Prevention and Personal Protection for West Nile Virus / Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Although the chances of being infected with West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis are low, it is important to take care when spending time outdoors to prevent getting mosquito bites. Prevention of mosquitoes and personal protection are two ways to keep you and your family safe from Vector-Borne Diseases.

 

What is personal protection?

Personal protection involves the things that you can do to help stop mosquitoes from biting you. You can protect yourself and your family from West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and other mosquito-borne viruses by:1

  • Avoiding time outdoors at dawn (first light) and dusk (just before dark), when mosquitoes are most active. 
  • Wearing light coloured long-sleeved shirts and long pants. 
  • Using insect repellent/bug spray that contains DEET. View personal insect repellents for information on how to choose the right one for your needs.
  • Installing or repairing tears or rips in window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Keeping bushes and shrubs trimmed and clear of overgrowth and debris (adult mosquitoes like to rest in dense shrubbery).2

For more information on preventing mosquito bites visit the Government of Canada's web page.

How can you help with the prevention of mosquitoes? 

Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water (water that does not move or flow) and it takes about four days for the eggs to grow into adults that are ready to fly. 

Reduce standing water around your home to prevent mosquitoes.

To get rid of standing water around your home follow these tips:1

  • Regularly (twice a week) drain standing water from items like:
    • Pool covers
    • Wading pools
    • Saucers under flower pots
    • Children's toys
    • Old tires (even tire swings)
    • Recycle bins, garbage cans, etc. 
  • Cover rain barrels with screens.
  • Clean out eavestroughs regularly to prevent clogs that can trap water.
  • Replace water in outdoor pet dishes and bird baths at least two times a week.
  • Remove old unused items from around your property (i.e. old tires) which have a tendency to collect water.
  • Purchase an aerator for ornamental ponds. This will keep the surface water moving which mosquito larvae do not like.
 

 

Personal Protection

A picture of a family hiking wearing long sleeved light coloured clothes to protect against insect bites.
Protect yourself from insect bites by wearing light-coloured long-sleeved clothing.

 

Roadside catch basin being treated

A picture of a person on a scooter treating a roadside catch basin to reduce the emergence of mosquito larvae.
Roadside catch basins are treated to prevent mosquito breeding and marked with a spray paint dot once treated.
 

How does the Health Unit help with the prevention of mosquitoes? 

The Middlesex-London Health Unit helps prevent mosquitoes from transmitting disease by monitoring standing water on public property and carrying out larvicide treatments when vector mosquito larvae are identified. Larvicide treatment is used to reduce the number of mosquitoes that emerge in the environment and as a result, manage the spread of West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in the community. The Health Unit uses larvicides approved for use by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. Larvicides used in standing water specifically target mosquito larvae and are applied by licensed staff. The Middlesex-London Health Unit also helps to prevent mosquitoes by applying larvicide to municipal roadside catch basins. Each catch basin receives three treatments throughout the season to ensure mosquito larvae populations are effectively reduced. Learn more by reading about mosquito surveillance and control.

Additional Information

For more information about West Nile Virus, please contact the Vector-Borne Disease team at:

  • 519-663-5317

Copyright

Please note: Where indicated, the source of the information on this web page is the Government of Canada's Prevention of West Nile virus web page, which is a copy of the version available at the URL in the references section below, OR the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. © Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2016.

 
Date of creation: October 1, 2012
Last modified on: February 9, 2022
 
 

References

1Government of Canada. (2016, April 8). Prevention of West Nile virus. Retrieved from
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/west-nile-virus/prevention-west-nile-virus.html
2Ontario. Ministry of Health and Long-term Care. (2021, October 21). West Nile virus. Retrieved from
https://www.ontario.ca/page/west-nile-virus