Aug. 16, 2012
Weather permitting, aerial spraying is expected to begin tonight in a northeast section of Dallas County to control mosquitoes and help prevent the spread of West Nile virus.
Responding to requests from Dallas-area cities, the Texas Department of State Health Services is directing two planes to begin flying at approximately 10 p.m. The planes will cover about 100,000 acres and will complete the day's spraying by 3 a.m. Spraying may be delayed or halted due to rain or windy conditions.
The planes will spray a triangular area bound by the Dallas North Tollway, Interstate 635 and Interstate 30. The area includes Richardson, Garland, University Park, Highland Park and parts of Dallas and Mesquite. This priority area was established based on disease prevalence and city input and will follow a defined grid pattern for flight efficiency.
Five planes are scheduled to fly Friday night and possibly over the weekend to cover the remaining requested areas. A second round of spraying may occur early next week depending on post-spray mosquito counts.
“Aerial spraying is a safe and very effective tool, but it doesn’t take the place of the basic precautions," said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner. “We are urging people to continue using insect repellent every time they go outside.”
Texas has more than 400 state-confirmed cases of West Nile illness for 2012, including 17 related deaths. Texas is on track to have the most cases of West Nile illness since the disease first emerged in the state in 2002. Humans can contract West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. The virus can cause serious illness or death.
For people concerned about exposure during aerial spraying, health officials suggest the following precautions:
- Minimize exposure. Avoid being outside, close windows and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs.
- If skin or clothes are exposed, wash them with soap and water.
- Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as a general precautionary measure.
- Cover small ornamental fish ponds.
- Because the chemical breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, no special precautions are suggested for outdoor swimming areas.
For the latest case counts, go to www.dshs.state.tx.us/news/updates.shtm.
(News Media Contact: Carrie Williams, Director of Media Relations, 512-776-7119.)
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