DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The results of mosquito tests have led two North Texas cities to become more aggressive in their battle against West Nile virus.
In Denton, mosquito samples collected late last month tested positive for the presence of West Nile. The result has the city now at ‘Risk Level 4,’ which means the probability of human outbreak is between moderate to high. The City of Denton is now increasing the amount of biological agents (BTI) in insecticides used to kill larva, and intensely treating areas where positive samples were collected.
City leaders said that BTI is very specific for killing mosquito larvae, and to help with concerns they are offering a limited supply of BTI briquettes to residents.
An unusually mild winter and a rain-filled spring likely spurred the crop of pests.
“It’s very shocking,” said Denton father Douglas Reamsbottom. “I’m going to need to learn more about it and see what I need to do to protect my kids and myself.”
The first mosquito pool to test positive for West Nile in Dallas has also been discovered. In response, the city has scheduled a controlled spraying beginning late Thursday evening. Infected mosquitoes were found in southeast Dallas. The places to be sprayed includes the area in-between Elam Road on the north, Prairie Creek Road on the west, C.F. Hawn Freeway on the south, and Acres Drive and Haymarket Road on the east.
Spraying will begin at 10:00 p.m. Thursday, June 14, and conclude no later than 3:00 a.m. Friday, June 15. In Denton, city leaders have decided not to spray.
While human West Nile infection is rare, health professionals advise that, to protect against mosquito bites and potential infection, North Texans should:
- Stay indoors at dawn, dusk and in the early evening
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors
- Spray clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET
- Repair or replace all screens in your home that have tears or holes
- Eliminate standing water that collects on your property
To reduce of eliminate mosquito breeding, residents should make sure that there is no standing water around the home. Mosquito breeding places include unkept swimming pools, pet watering dishes, birdbaths and potted plants.
BTI is available at most home and garden centers. Denton residents can also get two each (while supplies last) from the City of Denton’s Water Utilities Department. All who participate are required to show a driver’s license or Denton utility bill before they are given the briquettes.
Ken Banks, the city’s environmental services and sustainability director, said that the species of mosquito in question flock to storm drains and sewer systems, so the most effective deterrent may be a heavy rain. “Mosquito larvae breathe air,” Banks said. “So when the water is moving around, that’s not a good habitat for them, and it will tend to drown them.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 43 people died from West Nile last year. Two of those were in Texas.
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