Chicago ranks No. 2 on mosquito cities list

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CHICAGO — With the approaching summer comes the threat of mosquitos, and a new report says Chicago is among the U.S. cities most at risk.

Orkin released its “Top 50 Mosquitos Cities List” Monday, in which Chicago ranked No. 2, behind only Atlanta. Washington, Detroit and New York rounded out the top five.

“Mosquitoes are a major health concern during the summer,” Ron Harrison, entomologist and Orkin technical services director, said in a statement. “Mosquitoes are known carriers of several diseases, so people across the United States need to take precaution to help prevent mosquito bites,” he added.

The news comes amid a growing concern over the Zika virus, which has plagued travelers over the past several months. “The types of mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus and other diseases like West Nile virus and Chikungunya virus are common in the United States, including northern cities,” said Orkin spokeswoman Nancy Sharp in an email to WGN-TV.

Zika has been linked to severe birth defects, including microcephaly, since it surfaced in Brazil about a year ago.

Orkin released a list of tips to avoid mosquito bites this summer, including wearing long sleeve shirts and pants and applying EPA-approved mosquito repellents containing one of the following active ingredients:  DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or IR3535.

The company also encouraged residents to eliminate standing water in their yards or gutters — which can become breeding grounds for mosquitos — as well as limiting entry points to homes, such as gaps around windows and doors.