Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dallas Requests State of Emergency Aerial Spraying to Combat West Nile Virus Outbreak

I have never been a fan of aerial chemical spraying. I remember when I was a kid in Memphis, the mosquito-spraying trucks would drive through our neighborhoods wantonly spraying chemicals to kill the mosquitoes. The neighborhood would always smell nasty for many hours after the spraying. I have no idea what chemicals I was inhaling nor the effects. Perhaps it was harmless, but perhaps it has caused side effects that I may never know. I do not trust my government to make the correct decisions when it comes to my well-being, so I am always suspicious when the government introduces chemicals into the environment for some alleged beneficial purpose.

Nevertheless, for anyone living in Dallas, Texas, you may soon be bombarded (if not already) with aerial spray as the Mayor has declared a state of emergency. The virus has already killed 10 people...

Many of those who died were in frail health and had underlying medical conditions.

“I think this is the right thing to do. I cannot have any more deaths on my conscience because we didn’t take action,” [Mayor] Rawlings said.

The city has seen 111 reported infections that caused 65 hospitalizations.

As part of this site's public service to any visitors from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I will post the information links from the Mayor's page as they are posted there.

West Nile Aerial Spraying

STAY TUNED for specific days and times aerial spraying will occur.

The Texas Department of State Health Services is working closely with Dallas-area public health and emergency management officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the extremely high number of human cases of the disease in Dallas County.

“The disease poses an immediate public health threat to Dallas County. We need to use all possible tools, including aerial spraying, to fight this outbreak,” said Dr. David Lakey, DSHS commissioner. “We will support the decisions made by local officials as we work together to confront this situation.”

Aerial spraying is a very effective and safe way to kill adult mosquitoes in large, densely populated areas. For people concerned about exposure during aerial spraying, health officials suggest 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.

DSHS contracts with Clarke, a private environmental products and services company, for aerial application of mosquito control products. The product is called Duet, which 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. The product would be applied at very low dosages – less than an ounce per acre – by small, twin-engine aircrafts flying at approximately 300 feet above ground overnight.

Texas has more than 380 state-confirmed cases of West Nile illness for 2012, including 16 related deaths. Texas is on track to have the most cases of West Nile illness since the disease first emerged in the state in 2002. Humans can contract West Nile virus from a mosquito bite. The virus can cause serious illness or death.



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