News

Spraying for Mosquitoes

August 9, 2016

City Health Department to Spray Insecticide Tuesday and Wednesday to Reduce Threat of Mosquitoes

Targeted Effort Fights West Nile Virus on the Far North and South Sides

NOTES: Maps of Areas to Be Sprayed Below

Chicago - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is continuing its efforts against West Nile virus. Based on results from its citywide mosquito surveillance program, CDPH has determined the need to spray to kill adult mosquitoes in parts of the Far North Side on Tuesday, August 9th and parts of the South Side on Wednesday, August 10 th , 2016. This is the second spraying to occur in the city this season.

Spraying will occur in areas identified by the mosquito program in portions of Albany Park, Forest Glen, North Park and Norwood Park communities on the North side and Ashburn, Chicago Lawn, Gage Park, New City, West Englewood and West Lawn communities on the South Side. Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at dusk on both evenings and continue through the night until approximately 1:00am, with licensed mosquito abatement technicians in trucks dispensing an ultra-low- volume spray.

*For photographers and camera crews interested in b-roll and photo of spraying, the staging area for spraying will occur at 4605 W. Lawrence on August 9 th at 8:30pm, with spraying beginning at dusk.*

“When our mosquito traps indicate that the West Nile virus may pose health risks in a community, we take action quickly,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D. “But spraying is just one step to protect our city, residents must also take appropriate steps to protect themselves.”

CDPH reminds residents to take precautions against mosquitoes that may carry the virus, including:

  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Eliminate standing water. This includes emptying water from flowerpots, gutters, pool covers, pet water dishes and birdbaths regularly.
  • Keep grass and weeds short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes.
  • When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes.
  • Check that all screens, windows and doors are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears
  • Check on neighbors regularly who may need additional assistance, including the elderly.

Each year, CDPH conducts a comprehensive mosquito surveillance, prevention and control program to protect residents from West Nile virus and other diseases spread by mosquitoes. Though mosquitoes found to carry the Zika virus are not native to Chicago, CDPH has launched a recent campaign, #StopZika, to educate residents traveling to Zika-infested regions how to protect themselves. The campaign also reminds residents how the department is working to prevent mosquito-borne viruses that are endemic to Chicago, including West Nile virus.

In addition to spraying, CDPH’s comprehensive mosquito abatement program includes dropping larvacide in catch basins, which helps limit the number of mosquitoes that can carry the virus, and regularly testing mosquitoes caught in traps throughout the city. By utilizing data the city is able to most efficiently target high-risk areas for the virus.

The material being used to control the adult mosquitoes, Zenivex™, is approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been widely applied to control mosquitoes in outdoor residential and recreational areas across the city. The spray will be applied by licensed mosquito abatement technicians from Vector Disease Control International, a leader in the mosquito control industry. Guiding the crews through the streets will be supervisors from the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation.

While the spray is not harmful to people or pets and is routinely sprayed in residential areas across the nation, residents of targeted neighborhoods may choose to stay indoors and close their windows while spraying is underway, as an extra precaution..

“Spraying to kill adult mosquitoes is an effective component of an integrated pest management program,” added CDPH Environmental Health Medical Director Cort Lohff, M.D. “It is our expectation that this effort will further limit the mosquito population and prevent cases of human illness in Chicago.”

As part of ongoing response efforts, CDPH will continue to collect mosquitoes from traps located throughout the city and test these mosquitoes for West Nile virus. Using results of these tests, CDPH will determine the appropriate steps to be taken in order to best protect Chicago residents. On August 2nd , CDPH sprayed in the Auburn Gresham, Chatham and Washington Heights neighborhoods.

West Nile virus cannot be transmitted from person-to- person. Instead, it is transmitted strictly through mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes do not carry the virus. Additional information on the virus, including symptoms and how to protect against the virus can be found here.  Additional information regarding the Zika virus can be found at www.cityofchicago.org/StopZika.