West Nile Virus

Photo courtesy Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, photographer Jim GathanyThe West Nile Virus is transmitted between mosquitoes and birds, and can also be transmitted from mosquitoes to humans and other mammals, including horses.  The risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of infection with West Nile Virus is low, and most people who become infected experience no symptoms or have very mild illness.  Very rarely, it can cause meningitis and encephalitis, which can be fatal.  Less than one percent of people bitten by a mosquito carrying West Nile Virus will get severely ill.

Fraser Health has developed a West Nile Virus Action Plan, and is working with the Fraser Valley Regional District and member municipalities on this issue.  As part of the Action Plan, some dead birds of the corvid variety (i.e. crows, ravens, jays) will be examined for the presence of the virus. 

Fraser Health and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control have a collection system in place to monitor and test mosquitoes and dead corvids.   Not all dead corvids will be collected, but any sightings should be reported so a proper follow-up can be done.  To report dead corvids, please call and leave a message on the Fraser Health West Nile Virus Toll Free Reporting Line at 1-888-WNV-LINE (1-888-968-5463).  

Chilliwack residents who find dead crows on private property that are not going to be collected by Fraser Health are advised to dispose of the birds.  Dead birds may be disposed of with residential waste, either collected curbside or brought to the Bailey Sanitary Landfill. In the past, the Bailey Sanitary Landfill did not allow disposal of dead animals; however, an exception is being made for dead crows or other corvids, and these birds will be accepted for disposal at the landfill.  Persons should avoid barehanded contact with dead birds, being extra careful of the beaks and claws, and the birds should be placed in double plastic bags prior to disposal. 

Dead birds observed on public property should be reported to the City's Public Works Yard at 604-793-2810.

The Fraser Valley Regional District has an extensive Mosquito Control Program in place.  To assist in mosquito control, residents are advised to minimize standing or stagnant water in and around homes and businesses.  Wearing long sleeves and pants and applying bug repellant with DEET will also reduce your risk of getting bitten by a mosquito.  Details regarding the Mosquito Control Program are available on the Fraser Valley Regional District's mosquito control website.  Anyone seeking information regarding mosquito control in Chilliwack is advised to check the Fraser Valley Regional District's website or contact them by phone at 1-888-733-2333.

If you would like more information regarding West Nile Virus, please contact Fraser Health at 1-888-WNV-LINE (1-888-968-5463).  Information is also available on their website at http://www.fraserhealth.ca/

General information regarding West Nile Virus is also available on the following websites:

BC Centre for Disease Control at http://www.bccdc.ca/dis-cond/a-z/_w/WestNileVirus/default.htm

Health Canada at http://www.westnilevirus.gc.ca

Canadian Blood Services at http://www.bloodservices.ca

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

U.S. Geological Survey at http://westnilemaps.usgs.gov/