Texas outbreak of West Nile virus prompts aerial spraying

August 17, 2012

Aircraft have begun spraying pesticide over parts of Dallas, Texas to combat an outbreak of mosquito-borne West Nile Virus blamed for 17 deaths this year, authorities said Friday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said the aircraft covered 52,000 acres of Dallas County on Thursday night, opening a new front to stop the spread of .

"Aerial spraying is a safe and very effective tool, but it doesn't take the place of the basic precautions," said David Lakey, the head of the health department.

"We are urging people to continue using every time they go outside."

Four more aircraft were to resume spraying later Friday, and residents were cautioned to avoid going outdoors, keep pets inside, cover ornamental fishponds and rinse off homegrown fruits and vegetables.

Throughout the state 465 people have been sickened since the start of the year, putting it on track to have the most cases since the disease first emerged a decade ago, the department said.

The county incorporating Dallas, the ninth-largest city in the United States, has been the hardest hit, prompting the mayor to declare a local state of disaster on Wednesday.

"The city of Dallas is experiencing a widespread outbreak of mosquito-borne West Nile that has caused, and appears likely to continue to cause, widespread and severe illness and loss of life," Mayor Michael Rawlings said.

The virus has claimed ten lives in the county so far, local and state health authorities said.

First discovered in Uganda in 1937, the virus is carried by birds and spread to humans by .

Severe symptoms of the virus include high fever, vision loss and paralysis, while milder symptoms range from headaches to skin rashes.

At least 693 cases -- both confirmed and probable -- of the virus have been reported in the United States this year, including 26 deaths, according to the .

Texas tops the list in both total cases and fatalities.

Explore further: Mosquito sample with West Nile virus found in Oakley, Calif.

Related Stories

Dallas-fort worth brace for West Nile spraying

August 14, 2012

(HealthDay) -- The Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area -- the epicenter of the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus this year -- could see aerial spraying of insecticides as early as Thursday night to help control the ...

US city declares West Nile outbreak emergency

August 16, 2012

(AP) — Ten deaths and more than 200 cases of the West Nile virus in northern Texas have become the worst U.S. outbreak this year, leading the Dallas mayor to order the city's first aerial spraying of insecticide in more ...

To fight West Nile, Dallas launches aerial defense

August 17, 2012

(AP) — Dallas County launched an aerial assault on the mosquito population for the first time in 45 years Thursday to combat the nation's worst outbreak of West Nile virus, which has killed 10 people and sickened at ...

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.