Posted on August 10, 2012 at 5:21 PM
Updated today at 5:39 PM
DALLAS - Dallas County is now recommending aerial spraying in certain portions of the county to prevent the spread of West Nile virus.
North Dallas, Highland Park and University Park could be sprayed. That is where most of the West Nile cases have been in the county.
"When the planes get here, it'll be up to the cities," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "If it were up to me, they would be used."
It is now up to the mayors of Dallas, Highland Park and University Park if they want to use aerial spraying.
Jenkins said the research he's read said aerial spraying of insecticide is the best way to combat West Nile virus.
"We're going to follow the science and do whatever we need to do to ensure the safest outcome for our people," Jenkins said.
Dallas County Health Department Director Zach Thompson said before Friday's meeting that aerial spraying was on his radar, but wanted to hold off until after they increased ground spraying.
"There is a concern with spraying on the part of some, that pesticides will affect the honeybee population, it might make them sick, that pesticides are very bad and this is indiscriminate," Jenkins continued. "And I respect that, and I've read hundreds of pages of e-mails and responded to each one of them from citizens over the last three days. But the cost of not taking an aggressive approach against this disease has already claimed nine lives [in Dallas County] and greatly sickened, probably so they'll have lifetime repercussions, 172 people [in Dallas County.]"
If the cities do decide to move forward with aerial spraying, the state would be provide spraying for them sometime late next week. In the meantime, stepped up ground spraying is going to begin on Monday. Mosquito traps will also be tested to make sure their population are diminishing, and they are not building resistance to the pesticides.