The Chicago Department of Public Health is preparing to spray insecticide across a swath of North Side neighborhoods in response to a growing number of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus.
The spraying, set to begin at dusk Wednesday, will target portions of Albany Park, Irving Park, Lincoln Square and North Center (see map, right). It’s the first spraying in the city in 2021.
The health department monitors mosquito traps twice a week during breeding season. In the past few weeks, the number of community areas with West Nile-positive mosquito pools has risen from a handful to more than 30, and the risk assessment for human West Nile virus infection has gone from low to high, according to public data posted online by the department.
The city’s mosquito surveillance program also includes placing larvicide in catch basins.
The spray being used is known as Zenivex and has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. It’s not harmful to people or pets, according to a statement from the health department, but concerned residents can stay indoors and close their windows.
The most effective way to prevent the West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites, the health department stated. The virus is transmitted solely through mosquitoes; there is no person-to-person transmission. More information about the virus and how to prevent infection is available on the health department’s website.