DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Concern for the speed of this year’s West Nile virus outbreak is rising as fast the mosquitoes spreading the disease.
So much so, that Dallas County Health and Human Services has asked for help from the State Health Department to combat the mosquitoes and the sometimes fatal virus they spread.
“We need to get the state resources involved in this to help us deal with what we consider the worst year for West Nile virus in Dallas County that any of us have ever seen,” said Zach Thompson, executive director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.
Dallas County cities have been spraying more areas, more often because of an increasing number of mosquito pools testing positive for the virus, as well as the steadily increasing number of human cases. But supplies, such as the insecticide used to kill mosquitoes, are dwindling are a faster pace.
“We have enough supplies to take us through a normal mosquito season. This is an abnormal season right now,” Thompson said.
Thompson is hoping the state will provide the county with more insecticide and sprayers. Dallas County is on pace to surpass the number of infections and deaths reached in 2006. That year there were 106 human cases and four deaths.
This year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, Texas has 174 human cases of West Nile virus, 82 of them in Dallas County alone. The state with the next highest number of human cases is Mississippi, with 11.
“Dallas County has the most cases of West Nile virus in the United States,” Thompson said. “I will caution everybody those numbers are going up by the hour.”
The latest North Texas city to report a possible case of West Nile is Midlothian, where a woman reportedly remains in the hospital and neighbors are on alert.
“Obviously, it’s very concerning we want to make sure our kids are healthy,” said John Wynett, who has five kids, ”I’ll go through the house and spray for mosquitoes.”
That’s exactly what Thompson says North Texans should be doing; spraying themselves and their homes with and Environmental Protection Agency’s approved insect repellant.
He also urges residents to contact code enforcement if they see neighbors keeping standing water at their homes.
Eighty percent of those who contracted the infection in Dallas County were not wearing insect repellent, according to Thompson.
He urges people to protect themselves and their families by dutifully wearing DEET and long sleeves and long pants if they plan to be outside for long periods of time.
“This is third world disease in a 21st century country,” Thompson said.
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