Dallas Judge Clay Jenkins, the county’s top elected official has declared a public emergency stating that the West Nile outbreak is of extreme concern. Although approval has been granted to spray neuro-toxins with an ordered five planes, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and officials from the other cities said they plan to meet with industry experts early this week to decide how to proceed.
There is no vaccine for the virus, which has been in the U.S. since about 1999, according to the CDC. The virus, which most often affects people over 50, can cause high fevers, headaches and disorientation, and in some cases, death. Eight deaths have been reported from the virus in Dallas County in 2012 to date.
Public health officials typically advise residents of mosquito-prone areas to drain standing water, apply insect repellent containing the ingredient DEET and wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants. But officials at recent meeting said it’s clear that those warnings and ongoing ground-based spraying aren’t enough.
“It seems like the avoidance strategy is not working, so now you have to kill the bug,” said Dr. Rick Snyder, president of the Dallas County Medical Society.
Aerial spraying is controversial. Some fear health effects from chemicals falling on them from the sky, and others have questioned whether the approach has been scientifically proven to stop West Nile cases.
“People need to get a grip and try to put things into perspective,” said Garrett, who is known to fans as the Dirt Doctor. “And while even a single death is tragic, thousands more have died from asthma and other respiratory diseases, which can be aggravated by the spraying of harsh chemicals.”
Brandon Pollard from the Texas Honeybee Guild is outraged that the city officials would consider spraying, stating that the collateral damage to the environment, including killing his bees that are located across the county, would be enormous.
Pollard is halting new bee installations until this controversy is settled.
You may contact the Dallas County to voice your opinion, or check out one of several meetings planned for Tuesday, August 14, 2012 (Clay Jenkins court at 411 Elm, Dallas at 8:30 am) or the Dallas City Council meeting (Wednesday, ugust 15, 2012 at 9 am).
“It’s about understanding and education. Economically, the city would save money if they sprayed where the cases have been reported,” said Pollard.
“What we are hoping for is that they do a direct spraying in ponds and other known areas where the mosquitos are breeding. We want to avoid blanket spraying where it will affect all invertebrates. This can not only affect people’s animals and pets, but also people with respiratory trouble.”
Call 214.653.7886 today to speak out at the Tuesday county meeting, or 214.670.3738 to speak at the Wednesday city council meeting.
If you wish for the city spray trucks to pass your house without spraying call 214.670.9503 and they will turn off the spray before and after your home.