Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fighting West Nile With Aerial Spraying - CBS 11

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas County has announced an aggressive new plan to combat the West Nile virus. They recommend that areas with the most concentrated levels of the virus be attacked by air.

University Park and Highland Park made it known Friday night, they agree. The mayors of both cities held a joint news conference with county leaders at 9 p.m.

Though Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins recommended aerial spraying earlier Friday, it was up to the individual cities to make the final decision.

It is a decision that could keep many people from dying or getting sick.

James and Jo Blessing have a heavily wooded backyard. Mosquitoes love it.

Three weeks ago, James was bitten by one carrying the West Nile Virus.

“And the third day it just knocked me flat on my back,” he said.

How bad has it been for the 78-year-old veteran and paint contractor?

“You hurt all over. And, there’s no relief,” he said.

Blessing lives in Tarrant County where one person has died from the West Nile virus.

Nine have died in Dallas County where Dallas County Officials Friday afternoon recommended aerial spraying in areas with the highest concentrations of the West Nile Virus.

“With a plane, you can hit a much higher area, a much larger area and you can hit it more uniformly and more directly,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

State Health Services Commissioner, Dr. David Lakey, said, “It is the same chemical you have in ground spraying. When you look at the data from other cities that have done aerial spraying. It is our feeling aerial spraying is safe.”

Dallas County is asking for five planes and 40 trucks and more spray.

“The cost of not taking an aggressive approach against a disease that has already claimed nine lives and greatly sickened so they’ll have lifetime repercussions 172  people, warrants this resource request,” Judge Jenkins said.

Ask James Blessing, who nearly died, and he will tell you, it is a reasonable request.

“There’s too many people getting sick. I feel sadness for anybody that’s got it cause I know they’re suffering,” Blessing said.

The area targeted for aerial spraying is inside the boundaries of the North Dallas Tollway, 635 and I-30. It includes University Park, Highland Park and Dallas.

Three days of ground spraying will begin Monday in that same area.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also agrees with  the need for aerial spraying and is meeting with city and county officials and experts on how to proceed.

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