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An encephalitis outbreak that killed three elderly residents in Brooklyn and Queens prompted city officials Thursday to announce an aggressive citywide pesticide dusting to kill the disease-carrying mosquitoes.

"The more dead mosquitoes, the better," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani told a City Hall news conference where the plan was announced. Phase one was to begin Thursday night in Brooklyn and will eventually spread across the other four boroughs.

Nine cases of the mosquito-borne disease already are confirmed, with another 56 under investigation. The encephalitis has claimed two lives in Queens and one in Brooklyn.It was New York's first confirmed breakout of the disease, a strain known as St. Louis encephalitis.

Research entomologist Roger Nasci of the Centers for Disease Control said it was "exceedingly rare" for the disease to hit a northeast city and blamed the outbreak on "bad luck."

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