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DALLAS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – The threat of West Nile Virus is forcing some cities in North Texas to consider aerial spraying for the first time in years.

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Despite the lateness in the mosquito season, leaders in the more than 25 municipalities that make up Dallas County are still considering combating the mosquito-borne virus from the air.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has signed an order allowing for aerial spraying and asking that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expedite flight plans, should any city in Dallas County want to start spraying.

Officials looked to aerial spraying as an option after two new cases of West Nile were diagnosed in Dallas County. Of the 14 cases there so far this season six were the more severe West Nile neuroinvasive disease – a form of the virus that infects the brain or tissues covering the brain and spinal cord.

Over the last few years North Texans have become accustomed to seeing crews in trucks, driving through neighborhoods spraying pesticides for West Nile. But West Nile is spreading and there are more cases now than this time last year. Generally West Nile doesn’t peak until the end of August.

Experts at Texas A&M University say spraying from the air is more effective than from the ground, because planes can drop the pesticide in areas where trucks can’t reach — like backyards and behind fences and shrubs.

In 2012, a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the ratio of infected to uninfected residents went down in aerially-sprayed areas 2.6 times more than in areas limited to ground spraying.

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As it stands, five cities in Dallas County are considering taking part in the aerial spraying. If city and county officials move forward this will be the first time since 2012 that planes have been used to spray for mosquitoes.

While officials consider aerial spraying, another pool has tested positive for mosquitoes carrying West Nile so ground crews will be out tonight spraying in Dallas.

Ground spraying will be happening in three specific areas:

  • zip code 75225, the 7100 block of Joyce Way: Stonetrail Drive on the north, Hillcrest Road on the west, Glen Albens Circle on the east and Park Lane on the south
  • zip code 75224, the 2600 block of Grayson: Wynnewood Plaza on the north, South Polk Street on the west, Beckley Avenue on the east and Wild Rose Drive on the south
  • zip code 75214, the 6900 block of Chantilly Court: Vada Drive on the north, Hillside Drive on the west, Dalgreen Drive on the east and Merrilee Lane on the south

Crews will be spraying in those neighborhoods between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Thursday morning. During this time residents in the area should avoid contact with the spray by staying indoors. Anyone inside a vehicle while trucks are actively spraying should remain in their vehicle with the windows up and the air conditioner on until the trucks pass and the spray is no longer visible.

While ground and aerial mosquito spraying can lessen the risk of West Nile infection, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson said, “Our mosquito surveillance program and the county and municipal abatement teams are taking appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents. However, it is important for residents to take the necessary precautions.”

All North Texans are being asked to adhere to the five D’s when it comes to controlling the presence of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile.

  • DRAIN—all areas of standing water including changing water in wading pools, birdbaths, and cleaning out gutters;
  • DEET—Use bug spray and protect clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET;
  • DRESS—Dress in light- colored clothing with long sleeves and wear long pants;
  • DUSK/DAWN—Limit outdoor exposure at dusk and dawn;
  • DOORS—Keep door and window screens in good repair
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