Reporting Joel Thomas
ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Arlington resident Ebonie Conner said she heard the warnings about the West Nile Virus before last year’s outbreak but she did not heed them.
“I was not proactive because I did not think in a million years it would affect us — not in a MILLION years!” Conner said. “Yeah, I heard the dusk to dawn and insect repellant and all that. I did not think it was going to get us!”
Conner’s 15-year old daughter Jordan still suffers the neurological after effects of West Nile: dizziness, drowsiness, loss of memory and lack of balance.
The City of Arlington plans on trying to drive home the public warnings about West Nile earlier this year in hopes of preventing cases like Jordan’s.
Emergency personnel told Arlington’s council Tuesday, there’s one hard lesson Arlington learned last year.
“Ever since last year, we did an after action report from last year to make corrections on anything we felt needed improvement on from last year and the main thing was starting earlier so that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Arlington Assistant Fire Chief David Carroll.
Statistics show last year human West Nile Virus cases were on the rise in late spring, but no action was taken until mid summer.
Now, Arlington plans to begin a public awareness campaign this month. Trapping and testing mosquitoes will begin in May. And a contractor is already on stand by if ground spraying is needed.
Conner says she hopes North Texans will follow Arlington’s lead and take West Nile Virus as a serious threat before another huge outbreak like last year.
“Unless you’ve had the experience you can’t understand it,” Conner said. “I know it seemed surreal and impossible to me until we actually had the experience. And now its a reality.”
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