Another night of aerial spraying has been completed and a second round is scheduled in the Dallas area to target mosquitos that can carry the West Nile virus.
Dallas County officials said storms interrupted aerial spraying last Thursday and Friday nights. Rainfall Saturday canceled the evening's spraying schedule. But the planes were able to cover a lot of ground on Sunday.
"We've obviously been challenged a lot by the weather over the last few days but last night was absolutely perfect. So we were able to get a lot of area covered in a short period of time," said Laura McGowan, a spokeswoman for Clarke Aviation, the company handling the spraying.
The next round of pesticide spraying is scheduled for Monday night, weather permitting. The planes will be in the air by 7:45 p.m. They'll be dropping pesticide by 8:30 in the county and 9 p.m. in the city of Dallas.
"We were able to cover almost a quarter of a million acres with four planes. Tonight we'll have up to five planes," McGowan said. "We'll be out again tonight to cover every area of the spray block that has been indicated for a second round."
"The second wave of spraying is important because it will eliminate the larvae that had developed in the last day and the last week," added Mayor Mike Rawlings.
But the mayor still urged residents to help by eliminating standing water where mosquitos breed or call 311 to report stagnant pools to the city.
So far officials feel the combination of aerial and ground spraying is working. There's no hard data yet, but fewer mosquitos are showing up in traps.
"Our preliminary information is showing us that we're knocking down the West Nile Virus-causing mosquitos and that's the promising piece we want to put out," said Zachary Thompson, head of the Dallas County health department.
The county plans to set new mosquito traps on Monday and will analyze the findings on Tuesday. Clarke Aviation will set its own traps to try to determine whether ground and aerial spraying is doing its job.
Then attention turns to the cities in southern Dallas County. They have until Tuesday afternoon to opt in or out of the aerial spraying. Rowlett and Duncanville are scheduled to hold emergency meetings Monday night to decide.
In Tarrant County, particularly Fort Worth and Arlington, the assault on the ground continues. Two new West Nile-related deaths have been reported in the county.
Arlington plans to spray the Doug Russell Park, Jane Langston Park and Lynn Green Park areas Monday night. Doug Russell Park is next to the University of Texas at Arlington campus.
Fort Worth will host another informational meeting about West Nile at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Summerglen Library.
Like the ground spraying that has already been done in Fort Worth, Arlington said it will only spray the areas where the mosquito populations are the highest.
North Texas is the epicenter of the worst West Nile outbreak in United States history with nearly 700 cases in 43 states nationwide. Almost half of those cases are in Texas and a fourth in Dallas County. It has prompted the Centers for Disease Control to send a team of scientists from Colorado to work with state health officials.
The Environmental Protection Agency has said that the insecticide used in the spraying, Duet, poses no significant threat to humans or animals.
Symptoms of the West Nile virus include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
KDFW FOX 4
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