CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is continuing its efforts to protect residents 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 Southwest Side on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. This is the first spraying to occur in the city this season.
Spraying will occur in areas identified by the mosquito program in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. To download a map of the spray zone, click here. Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at dusk on July 25 and continue through the night until approximately 1:00 am, 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 DSS Yard 2300 W. 52nd St. Chicago at 8:30 pm, 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. “Even though we are only spraying in one community this week, residents throughout Chicago should use appropriate precautions to protect themselves.”
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. In an effort to keep residents safe, CDPH has launched a recent campaign, #FightTheBite, to educate residents about 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. CDPH staff has been leaving door hangers in the affected areas to notify residents that the spraying will occur.
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. 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.
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.