The first aerial spraying of insecticides in the Dallas area since the 1960s is set for this week in the battle against the worst outbreak of West Nile virus in the nation so far this year.
Several cities, including Dallas, have approved aerial spraying. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings on Wednesday declared a state of disaster in the city because of WNV, clearing the way for treatment from above.
An official with the company hired to spray for mosquitoes in Dallas County, Clarke International, said at least two planes will be in position by Thursday evening.
Clarke spokeswoman Laura McGowan said Tuesday that the chemical will be spread in small amounts and is safe for residents.
The Texas Department of State Health Services said Clarke's chemical, called Duet, is labeled and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use in outdoor and residential areas.
The active ingredients are in the same chemical family as products currently being used for ground spraying in the Dallas area.
However, the health department said people concerned about exposure during aerial spraying can take the following precautions.
Minimize exposure. Avoid being outside, close windows and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs. If skin or clothes are exposed, wash them with soap and water. Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as a general precautionary measure. Cover small ornamental fish ponds.
Because the chemical breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, no special precautions are suggested for outdoor swimming areas, the health department said.
Truck spraying will continue in Dallas County, where 10 deaths have been attributed to West Nile virus this year.
Dallas County had aerial spraying in 1966 for an encephalitis outbreak blamed for more than a dozen deaths.
This week Fort Worth also announced it will begin ground spraying for mosquitos for the first time in 20 years. Beginning on Wednesday trucks will canvas areas that have tested positive for West Nile.
However, aerial spraying is not yet being considered for Tarrant County or Fort Worth.
For statistics and more information about West Nile, visit the following links:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
KDFW FOX 4
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