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West Nile Ground Spraying Begins In Fort Worth

By Susy Solis
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - For the first time in more than 20 years, the city of Fort Worth will begin ground spraying for mosquitoes to fight the increasing number of cases of the West Nile Virus.

For Jordan Davis, a Fort Worth resident, who lives in one of two zip codes to be sprayed, the news was a wakeup call.

“I think if they are doing it, it must be a real threat,” he said.

Targeted ground spraying will begin at 10 p.m. Friday night and continues Saturday and Sunday from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. in zip codes 76104 and 76110. Clusters of West Nile cases were identified in these two areas.

“I think that if they can concentrate the ground spraying in spots that they know where mosquitoes are bad, I really don’t have an issue with that,” Davis said.

Meanwhile, across from Davis’ Fort Worth home, Code Compliance officers sat in an RV, handing out information about the West Nile Virus and the ground spraying that would soon take place. Officers reminded residents to limit their exposure to the pesticide by staying inside. Residents were also reminded to bring their pets inside during spraying.

Some residents expressed concern over ground spraying in the Hospital District where sick patients could be exposed. Code Compliance officers say the pesticide being used, Envion 30-30, is safe and less concentrated than some over the counter products. Doctors agree the spray is safe.

Dr. Donald Murphey, a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Cook Children’s Medical Center, says something needs to be done to curb the rising number of cases of West Nile Virus. He has seen several otherwise healthy children come down with the virus.

“You don’t want to get sprayed on, but they are going to spray in a way that does protect us and our kids and our pets, but does kill mosquitoes,” said Dr. Murphey.

For now, the city says only ground spraying is on the table.

“Aerial spraying is the last stage of the various different stages of response,” said David Jefferson, Environmental Health Manager for Tarrant County Public Health. “That would only happen if the situation continues to escalate, if the situation gets worse.”

Meanwhile, residents like Davis say they’ll wash everything down the day after spraying as a precaution, including the vegetables from the community garden next door.

“If it affects the garden but kills the mosquitoes and protects people, then I don’t really have a big issue with it,” Davis said.
The city says they are looking at two more zip codes in North Fort Worth for possible ground spraying.

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