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City to Spray Northwest, Southwest Sides After West Nile Mosquitoes Found

  The public health department will spray for mosquitos in three neighborhoods Wednesday night.
City Sprays for Mosquitos
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CHICAGO — Starting Wednesday, the city's health department will begin spraying for mosquitoes in three neighborhoods where traces of West Nile virus have been found.

Traps set by the Chicago Department of Public Health recently caught mosquitoes carrying the disease in Auburn Gresham, Washington Heights and Forest Glen, the department said in a statement.

"When our mosquito traps indicate that the West Nile Virus may threaten human health in a community, we take decisive action," Commissioner Bechara Choucair said.

At dusk Wednesday, Streets and Sanitation workers will guide technicians from the private company Vector Disease Control International through Chicago's Northwest and Southwest Sides.

Dusk is typically the peak period of mosquito activity, said Brian Richardson, a health department spokesman.

The technicians plan to spray Zenivex — a low-volume spray that's been deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency — throughout infected areas. Residents can expect to see workers until about 1 a.m. Thursday.

In Forest Glen, spray boundaries run north to the city limits, east to Central Avenue and southwest along Caldwell Avenue.

In Auburn Gresham and Washington Heights, the boundaries encompass most of the 21st Ward — running north to 83rd Street, east to Stewart Avenue, south to 99th Street and west along Ashland and Beverly avenues.

"It is our expectation that this effort will further limit the mosquito population and prevent cases of human illness in Chicago," said Dr. Cort Lohff, the city's environmental health director.

Most mosquitoes do not carry West Nile virus, according to the health department. The city monitors its mosquito population with traps and larvicides, which kill mosquitoes before they can grow.