Dallas County declared state of emergency, as the West Nile virus grew a bigger threat. Following an official meeting on Wednesday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings authorized aerial spraying with insecticide to prevent the spreading of the West Nile disease.
The hot and dry weather of the past weeks has created the perfect environment for the Culex mosquito. With it, the West Nile virus is a greater danger than ever. Most affected by this is Dallas County. Here, over 200 West Nile disease cases have been reported, with a total of 391 in Texas. The disease can be lethal, causing more than 16 West Nile virus deaths statewide.
Confronting the West Nile outbreak, Mike Rawlings, mayor of Dallas, held a meeting with state’s top health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their decision was that Dallas County declares state of emergency.
“This is a matter of extreme concern, and we’re going to follow the science and do what’s best for our people” reads Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins statement for AP. Thus officials requested aerial support and authorised aerial spraying of insecticide to curb the Culex mosquito population.
This is quite the extreme measure, given the last aerial spray was used in 1966. Rawlings requested five planes for the spraying of the northern parts of Dallas and the nearby enclaves. However, the sprayings will not start without the approval of all jurisdiction leaders.
The plan could be delayed as some of the Dallas council members are concerned about the side-effects insecticide could have on humans and other animals. Given the urgency of the matter, Rawlings ensured the aerial dosage will be much lower than the one used before
Health commissioner David Lakey said that “There is a public health emergency related to West Nile right now. The risk of air-based spraying is minimal versus the ongoing spread of West Nile.”
There are other factors as well. The yellow fever treatment is not very efficient. The West Nile virus deaths number speaks for itself. The virus can cause high fevers, headaches and disorientation, especially for patients over 50. There is no vaccine for the virus, so it seems the only prevention can be done through large scale measures.