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More Aerial Spraying Planned, But Not In Dallas

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
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West Nile Virus

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Aerial spraying will resume in Dallas County on Wednesday, after taking a break on Tuesday night, but not in those areas that have already been treated. The cities being targeted on Wednesday include Mesquite, Rowlett, Duncanville, Ferris, Seagoville, Sunnyvale and Wilmer.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that citizens in these areas should cover fish ponds and prepare for aerial spraying. The operation could start as early as 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and again on Thursday, weather permitting.

The aerial spraying operation started last Thursday night in Dallas County — including the cities of Dallas, Highland Park, University Park, Garland, Addison and Richardson — as an emergency plan attacking mosquitos carrying the West Nile virus. When weather allowed, airplanes have sprayed a pesticide designed to kill those bugs responsible for spreading the disease. More than 260 human cases of West Nile have been reported this year in Dallas County, about 25 percent of the national total.

Laura McGowan With Clarke Dynamic Aviation:

Meanwhile, officials in the City of Dallas are holding off on a third round of aerial spraying, as representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention visit North Texas on Thursday to analyze the results so far. City leaders want to look at that data before moving forward with further plans, but Mayor Mike Rawlings said that the aerial spraying has been working. “The preliminary data from the pre/post spray mosquito trapping suggested that the mosquito population abundance decreased considerably following the operation,” Rawlings said, quoting an email from the CDC.

Some critics disagree. “The mosquitos were already at the natural end of their cycle,” explained ‘Stop the Spray Dallas’ blogger Vanessa Van Gilder. “So, they’re taking credit for something they did not do.” Van Gilder’s blog includes a petition with more than 2,000 signatures calling for the end of mosquito spraying both in the air and on the ground. She argues that the health risks associated with spraying are unknown, and that prevention is the best defense.

On the other side of North Texas, officials in Fort Worth are waiting to start bigger spray plans. The city will continue with targeted spraying despite some residents supporting a larger attack. “It’s been proven effective in Dallas, and I think it would be effective here,” said resident Jim Booles. “If it could save a life, I don’t think we should wait until 10 people have died in this ZIP code before we do aerial spraying.”

Two more North Texans died from the disease on Tuesday. A resident in University Park became the 11th Dallas County death this season related to the West Nile virus, while a death in Plano marked the first of the season for Collin County. Two people also died Tuesday in Houston, bringing the state’s total death toll to 26 people. Aerial spraying will start Wednesday night in Houston.

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