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Dallas County: Aerial Spraying Worked

BJ Austin

Dallas County’s aerial mosquito spraying got a good preliminary report from the Centers for Disease Control, which analyzed more that 250 mosquito traps.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins says the CDC’s preliminary data shows areas that were sprayed for West Nile infected mosquitoes two nights in a row saw a 93 percent decrease in the mosquito population. Jenkins says other areas where spraying was interrupted by rain storms saw a lesser, but significant decline.

“And a 20 percent increase for all areas that were not included in the aerial spray,” Jenkins said.

Judge Jenkins says the air-attack on the type of mosquitoes that transmit West Nile worked.

“The science tells us and our human experience with no injuries or problems from it tells us that that was the right decision,” Jenkins said..

Jenkins says the CDC’s involvement in the North Texas outbreak of West Nile virus – the most cases and deaths in the country – will prove very valuable in plans for next summer.

CDC entomologist Dr. Janet McAllister told a news conference the final report won’t be completed until early next year.

“We realize this outbreak is going to continue probably through September into October,” said McAllister. “And that’s when the final data will come in.”

Local health officials agree the outbreak is far from over and for at least another month people need to continue to wear insect repellant, avoid activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and drain all standing water where mosquitoes could breed.

Two nights of aerial spraying over 30 cities in Denton County will begin Friday night. Thursday night’s start was scrapped because of high winds.

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.