Reporting Jack Fink
HIGHLAND PARK (CBSDFW.COM) - On this crisp, spring night, the Highland Park Dance Company is taking its annual team photos. But unlike past years, the girls need to wear one more thing besides their smiles — mosquito repellent.
Casey Castellaw of the Highland Park Dance Company says, “I think you know June, July, August and here we are in April, and they’re already telling us to watch out for it.”
In Highland Park, a mosquito has already tested positive for the potentially deadly West Nile Virus. As a result, Highland Park is spraying the southwest part of town through the night Friday and into early Saturday morning. Lisa Kilpatrick says, “Like any mother, I’m concerned about it.” Her daughter is among those taking photos.
“I just killed my first mosquito today — in my own home — so clearly, it’s a problem.”
Last week, the city of Richardson found mosquitoes tested positive in two areas: North Plano Road and East Campbell Road and Renner Road and Northstar Road. The city conducted ground spraying this week in both areas, and also sprayed storm drains at the Plano and Campbell Road area. All across North Texas, communities are setting traps to test mosquitoes much earlier this year after 89 Texans died of West Nile last year, and hundreds more were treated for it. Dallas County Commissioners Court Judge Clay Jenkins says the county nearly tripled its funding to conduct additional tests of mosquitoes for West Nile and set traps for the bugs.
Area leaders though say individuals must also do their part: drain their property of standing water, use repellent, and wear long sleeves at dawn and dusk — even now. We found Julia Pylant, a SMU student, out for a jog in shorts. “If West Nile Virus has already been found, it seems like it’s going to be a bad season, definitely going to suit up properly next time.”
Highland Park will be testing mosquitoes every week. University Park will be fogging schools Saturday, parks on Sunday, and streets and alleys from Monday through Thursday.
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