News Release
June 28, 2013

CDPH Conducts Comprehensive Mosquito Tracking and Abatement Practices throughout City

First West Nile Virus Positive Mosquitoes in Chicago Reported for 2013

Brian Richardson

Chicago – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has confirmed the first West Nile virus positive mosquito batch in the City for 2013.  Last year, the first positive batch was identified around the same time of year. The first positive sample identified in Illinois this year occurred more than a month ago in Hillside in Cook County.

“While there have been no West Nile-related illnesses in Chicago reported so far this year, we continue to be vigilant,” said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D.  “Today’s news is an opportunity to remind Chicagoans what they can do to protect themselves and each other.”

Every year, CDPH conducts a comprehensive West Nile virus surveillance and prevention program. This includes dropping larvacide in catch basins, which helps limit the number of mosquitoes that can carry the virus, and regularly testing mosquitoes that are caught in traps located throughout the city. This information guides CDPH’s efforts throughout the season, allowing teams to respond quickly in the right geographic areas to further reduce risks through neighborhood outreach and spraying. Since the beginning of mosquito season, more than 430 mosquito batches have been tested. This is the first batch to produce positive results.  

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

  • Use insect repellant 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 mosquitos.
  • 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.

“There is no substitution to preparation,” Commissioner Choucair continued. “This is why we have been working hard to limit the spread of West Nile virus and encourage every resident to do his or her part and prepare together.”

West Nile virus cannot be transmitted from person-to-person. Instead, it is transmitted to humans via 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.

As part of their ongoing response efforts, CDPH will increase traps and monitoring in the area where the mosquito batch tested positive. Following additional tests, CDPH will determine the appropriate next steps to be taken, including possible spraying, to best protect Chicago residents.