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General Health : Infectious Disease Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

West Nile virus hits more Chicagoans spraying set for next week
By Chicago Department of Public Health
Sep 2, 2006 - 10:47:00 AM

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City Health Department Confirms 6 More Cases of West Nile Infection
Spraying to Kill Mosquitoes Set for Next Week

Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) officials today confirmed six new cases of human illness caused by the West Nile Virus.

The cases are:

* a 49-year-old woman from the Norwood Park neighborhood who was hospitalized on August 14 with encephalitis. She was discharged on August 20.

* a 74-year-old man from the South Lawndale neighborhood who was hospitalized on August 14 with West Nile Fever. He was discharged on August 18.

* a 60-year-old man from the North Lawndale neighborhood who was hospitalized on August 18 with encephalitis. He was discharged on August 29.

* a 92-year-old woman from the Garfield Ridge neighborhood who was hospitalized on August 18 with encephalitis and remains hospitalized.

* a 77-year-old Humboldt Park man who was hospitalized on August 24 with encephalitis and remains hospitalized.

* a 49-year-old West Town woman who was hospitalized with West Nile Fever on August 25. She was discharged on August 28.

"These cases confirm what we have been saying consistently that the West Nile Virus is here and it is dangerous," stated CDPH commissioner Terry Mason, M.D. "I call upon all Chicagoans to take common sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites."

The six cases bring to 17 the number of confirmed cases of human infection with West Nile Virus in Chicago in 2006.

It is unclear at the moment whether the six individuals became infected in their home neighborhoods or while visiting other areas.

Thus far in 2006 there have been over 50 confirmed cases of West Nile-related human illness in Illinois; 17 of those in Chicago and 19 in suburban Cook County.

The announcement came as City officials announced that they will spray insecticide next week in Chicago neighborhoods that are showing significant numbers of infected birds and/or mosquitoes.

The first night of spraying starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday and runs until 2 a.m. Thursday in five areas:

* South/Southwest
Area 3 area roughly bounded by 31st St. on the north, 79th St. on the south, Halsted on the east, and the city limits on the west.

* Far Southwest
Area 4 area roughly bounded by 87th St. on the north, 123rd on the south, Cottage Grove on the east, and the city limits on the west.

* Southeast
Area 5 area roughly bounded by 95th St. on the north, 118th on the south, Avenue F on the east, and the Calumet River on the west.

* Far Southeast
Area 6 area roughly bounded by 125th St. on the north, 136th St. on the south, Avenue K on the east, and Saginaw on the west.

* Southeast
Area 7 area roughly bounded by 100th St. on the north, 110th St. on the south, Torrence on the east, and VanVlissingen on the west.

The second night of spraying starts at 7 p.m. Thursday and runs until 2 a.m. Friday and covers the following area:

* North/Northwest
Area 1 area roughly bounded by the city limits on the north, North Ave. on the south, Pulaski (north from Montrose to city limits) and Halsted (south from Montrose to North Ave.) on the east, and the city limits on the west.

[View a map of these 6 spray areas]

CDPH officials say they will assess the impact of the spraying on the mosquito population over the next week or so and then decide whether to spray again. CDPH maintains about 100 mosquito traps in neighborhoods across the city and monitors bird and animal populations for presence of the virus.

The Northern House mosquito, Culex pipiens, is the primary carrier of West Nile virus. This mosquito species thrives in water with high organic content, such as that found in catch basins (storm sewers). Consequently, a hot, dry summer (like the current one) increases the risk of West Nile virus infection, exactly the opposite of what many people believe. In contrast, the swarms of "floodwater" mosquitoes that appear after heavy rains may be a nuisance, but they rarely are infected with West Nile virus.

CDPH officials ask all Chicagoans to take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites. Especially important is the use of insect repellant containing DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), Picaridin (KBR 3023) or Oil of Lemon eucalyptus (PMD).

An example of a product containing Picaridin is Cutter Advanced Insect Repellent (more info at, available at stores across the city.

An example of a product containing Picaridin is Cutter Advanced Insect Repellent (more info at, available at stores across the city.

In addition to using insect repellant to avoid bites, CDPH officials advise:

* Consider limiting outdoor activity after dark (dusk to dawn), which is when Northern House Mosquito is most active.
* When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that includes long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes.
* Check to see that all screen on doors and windows are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears.
* Encourage neighbors to exercise precautions.

To limit mosquito breeding opportunities, CDPH officials recommend:

* draining and replacing water in birdbaths and children's backyard wading pools every four to five days;
* properly disposing of old tires, jars, cans, pans, bottles, buckets and other unwanted containers that can hold standing water;
* making sure that rain gutters, downspouts, swimming pools and pool covers are free of standing water;
* keeping grass and weeds cut short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes;

West Nile Virus infection can cause a relatively mild illness called West Nile Fever, characterized by fever, muscle aches, rash and headache. More severe West Nile illness is less common, but can include meningitis (inflammation of the membrane surrounding the brain) and encephalitis (inflammation and swelling of the brain itself). People of all ages are susceptible to West Nile infection, but people over age 50 are at greater risk of developing severe illness.

The City of Chicago's aggressive campaign against the Northern House Mosquito is led on a year-round basis by Mayor Richard M. Daley's Task Force on West Nile Virus, which meets regularly to assess past efforts and improve methods of disease surveillance, mosquito control and public education.

To date, the Task Force has led an effort that has seen hundreds of thousands of catch basins treated with larvicide that significantly limits mosquito breeding opportunities. Other city efforts have included identifying and eliminating sources of standing water, and the printing and dissemination of thousands of informational brochures to sites across the city.

West Nile Virus informational brochures may be obtained by visiting any Chicago Public Library branch or by calling 311.

For prevention tips and weekly updates on West Nile Virus activity in Chicago, visit our web site at

For an expert national perspective on West Nile Virus, visit the official web site of the CDC.

Map of the 6 areas scheduled for spraying:

Map of West Nile Treatment Areas

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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