Aerial spraying against the West Nile Virus Mosquitoes has been approved by the Dallas County Commissioners this Tuesday with a vote of 3 to 0.
The Department of Health and Human Services will begin the spraying very soon, using planes that will fly above the county. However, officials still need the approval of all cities from the county before the process can begin.
Some people have already been diagnosed with the West Nile Virus this year, and officials hope that the situation will not escalate into in an epidemic such as the one in 2012 when 36 people from North Texas died.
Also, over 1,000 citizens experienced the symptoms of the virus. According to Dr. Christopher Perkins from the Department of Health and Human services, the infection rate is even higher nowadays among mosquitoes.
It means there the number of disease-carrying mosquitoes is larger than in the previous years. This implies that humans are more vulnerable to getting infected with the virus. But not everyone is expected to agree to these measures.
For instance, County Judge Clay Jenkins was criticized in 2012 by organic gardeners, people with chemical allergies, and beekeepers for allowing the aerial spraying. It was the first time since 1960 when the process was authorized.
According to Zachary Thompson, Health Department Director, officials throughout the county will gather and discuss their options in the following days. Even if this is not an emergency situation, this aerial spraying will represent a measure of precaution to prevent the mosquitoes from infecting people with the virus.
Around 20 percent of the people bitten by the disease-carrying mosquitoes experience moderate symptoms such as stiff neck, rash, nausea, confusion, muscle aches, headache, and fever.
But 1 percent of the infected people develop a neuroinvasive disease, which is a severe form of the West Nile Virus that directly attacks the brain.
Authorities and health officials strongly recommend people to use mosquito repellent containing DEET and wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved and light-colored shirts and pants. Also, residents should check around their house or workplace for any sources of standing water because it represents the ideal environment for breeding.
People should avoid outdoor activities during dusk and dawn because during that time West Nile Virus mosquitoes are most active.
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