Cities across Texas ramp up mosquito control responding to West Nile virus
Numerous cities throughout Texas, United States have begun broadening their efforts to fight mosquito populations, in an effort to reduce transmission of the sometimes-lethal West Nile virus.
Officials in Dallas county have declared a public health emergency. Officials there have requested use of five planes, intended to spray most of North Dallas, as well as other sections of the city.
Tim Whitley, a city official in Malakoff, told Wikinews his city has begun using a pesticide specialist to spray two times weekly. According to Whitley, certain atmospheric conditions, such as wind speed and humidity, must be right before the large scale treatments can occur.
He explained two treatments per week is more often than usual for the city.
“With the concerns in Dallas, we’re taking it seriously”, Whitley added. Even in the drier climate found in Abilene, mosquitos recently tested were carrying the virus. As a result, that city has increased its pesticide treatments.
Media sources indicate well over 80 cases of West Nile virus have been reported this year in Dallas county alone. A top-ranking Dallas county official told media he views the problem with serious concern.
There have been nine cases of West Nile virus in the Houston region, with one of those resulting in death. A New Jersey woman who is a former resident of Lubbock told media earlier this month she’d contracted the virus and believed she’d been bitten while visiting Austin.
About 60 percent of West Nile cases in the U.S. happen in Texas.
Historically, there have been some objections raised over aerial spraying and the potential health hazards distributing such chemicals may pose. A California study, however, showed evidence that in areas where aerial spraying occurred, infection was six times less likely to occur. The earliest cases of the virus appeared in the U.S. in the late 1990s.