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West Nile Virus Precautions are Still Needed This Late in the Season

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The city of Dallas will be spraying pesticide today in two neighborhoods where mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus.

The neighborhoods are the 6700 block of Sperry in Lakewood and the 6400 block of Prestonshire in Preston Hollow, which will be sprayed between 9 p.m. tonight and 5 a.m.

The city is using Deltagard Insecticide, which is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a statement from the city. Still, the city put out a hefty warning for those who might come in contact with the insecticide.

“Persons inside a vehicle while trucks are actively spraying should remain in their vehicles with the windows up and the air conditioner on until the trucks pass and the spray is no longer visible. Persons out during the scheduled spraying time should be alert for trucks and should not follow them. Residents who come in contact with the spray are advised to wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water,” Dallas' public affairs office said in the statement.

Dallas and other cities use “mosquito pools” to capture and test the insects for any mosquito-borne disease.  Dallas will spray within a half-mile radius of a mosquito pool that comes back with positive West Nile virus results.

Jackie Roberts walks dogs in the 6400 block of Prestonshire seven days of the week for her dog-walking business and said she sprays herself religiously with mosquito repellent.

“Most people do diligence about mosquito spraying, but mosquitoes are bad here,” she said. “I think it's all the watering and on top of that this rain.”

Dallas isn’t the only area in North Texas where mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile recently. Tarrant County has had 209 positive mosquito pools this week, higher than normal for this time of year. Vinny Taneja, director of Tarrant County Public Health, said that number usually spikes earlier in the summer but the weather has caused the rise to delay till now.

So far this year, Dallas County health officials have reported 11 confirmed cases of West Nile infection and one death, an 88-year-old woman in August. In 2017, the county saw 26 cases and two deaths.

“It’s been dry all summer, but that rain that just came in makes for perfect mosquito breeding, which is why we’re only seeing the number rise this late in the season,” Taneja said.

Taneja said that as long as the public continues to take regular precautions, the number of West Nile cases in humans should stay average. Long-sleeve shirts, long pants, bug repellent containing DEET and emptying everything that collects water in front and back yards — like bird feeders, planters, saucers, garbage containers, kids toys and buckets — should protect the public from the virus.

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