Reporting Bud Gillett
UNIVERSITY PARK (CBS 11 NEWS) - Spray trucks will hit the streets in Highland and University Parks this weekend in the fight against mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.
Statistically, the Park Cities have a higher number of human cases per capita than other communities with nine human infection cases so far, making them among the more active communities in North Texas.
But after conferring with county health officials and the U-S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nobody can quite put a finger on “why.” So the known abatement procedures continue.
“We are one of the few cities in the area that have our own trucks and our own certified personnel, says Steve Mace, the University Park Community Information Officer.
He says for some twenty years University Park has sprayed the same type of chemicals that planes recently dropped from the skies over Dallas County, including the Park Cities.
“This year with the increased activity we have stepped up those truck routes, we have over the past several weeks—in connection with the county—truck-fogged on consecutive nights.”
Now the city stepping up ground spraying even more. “We’ve resumed truck-fogging, where we are covering the entire community about every two to three nights,” he tells CBS 11 News.
When invited, he says, technicians walk residents’ properties to also spray by hand. And they put out doughnut-sized briquettes of insecticide called “dunks” in storm drains and creek inlets. University Park residents can receive them free at City Hall.
Still, the number of cases had been statistically high. One popular theory is that heavy landscape irrigation regularly leaves standing water, even in the middle of a hot summer’s day.
Mace is not sure it is that simple. “It could be the abundance of tree cover, proximity to Turtle Creek, our ponds,” he offers.
Special ground spraying is set for the weekend: all the district’s schools Saturday, city hall and parks on Sunday and Monday.
People who enjoy the out-of-doors here say they take the West Nile threat seriously. UP resident Allen Fine talked to us during a noon hour lunch run. “Yes, absolutely. I try to put on mosquito repellent whenever I can when I’m out exercising that sort of thing.”
Shannon Edwards regularly takes her lunch at this park and thinks the spraying is good. “I know some people are worried chemicals are dumped on them but I think West Nile is pretty deadly,” she told us. She sprays with insect repellent daily.
Jeremy Scully, another UP resident, is not as worried for young people like himself. “I think it’s effecting older people a little bit more than a younger person. I’m in pretty good shape; if something happens, I go to the doctor, get it worked out, and I should be good.” Still, he thinks the spray works despite some criticisms. “Someone saw on the news that the spray can’t be that good for you, but I’m sure it’s not going to hurt that much. I say keep spraying.”
Will it make a difference? Considering the incubation period of West Nile virus, it may be two weeks before they get an idea whether they’re making a dent in the problem.
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