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Aerial Spraying Over For Dallas: Others Sign Up

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Aerial mosquito spraying is over for the city of Dallas, but cities in the southern part of Dallas County are signing up for the air attack on mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says preliminary data shows the airborne pesticide spraying has done its job – reducing the mosquito population. But the war on West Nile is not over. Mayor Rawlings says the city is launching a new, targeted ground assault.

“We gonna put larvacide in standing water,” said Rawlings. “We’re going to be able to look where new cases come out in the city of Dallas, and we will go right to those neighborhoods and put local pesticide there. And when we get the traps back if we find a mosquito with West Nile, we’ll go to those locations as well.”

Aerial spraying in southern Dallas County is expected to start Wednesday or Thursday night. Duncanville, Seagoville, Sunnyvale, Wilmer, Rowlett, the southern part of Mesquite, Ferris and a small portion of Combine are on the spray list. Balch Springs, Cedar Hill and Lancaster are maybes. Glenn Heights, Hutchins, and DeSoto joined Irving, which earlier rejected aerial spraying.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says officials from the Centers for Disease Control are to arrive in the next day or so to study the outbreak in the four metro counties: Dallas, Tarrant, Denton and Collin, and assess the local response. Jenkins says the White House has also been briefed on the outbreak. The Judge says it is still a public health emergency.

“We need everyone to take this seriously,” said Jenkins. “You need to protect yourself, exhibit personal responsibility. It will take you five minutes in most cases to drain the standing water from your yards. And as part of your daily grooming regimen, for the next month I recommend you put DEET on in the morning.”

Judge Jenkins and Mayor Rawlings say we won’t know if West Nile is on the wane for another couple of weeks.

Collin County reported its first death from West Nile virus Tuesday. At the same time, Dallas County recorded its 11th.

Dallas County has 270 confirmed cases of West Nile; 212 in Tarrant County, with four deaths. Denton County reports 105 cases; 36 in Collin County.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.