Aerial Spraying Offered to the Cities of Dallas County
For Immediate Release: (Tuesday, August 14, 2012)
[Dallas, TX] – [Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins confirmed today in Commissioners Court that after reviewing extensive research and data on the options available in the battle against the spread of West Nile Virus (WNV), Dallas County would go forward with the request for aerial resources for the Aerial Spraying phase of our West Nile Virus response. After hearing the recommendations of experts from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Dallas County Medical Society (DCMS) Judge Jenkins said that he was convinced of the safety and efficacy of Aerial Spraying as the best way to combat WNV for the protection of the citizens of Dallas County.]
Dallas County is the epicenter of the WNV nationwide, comprising a full 27% of the country’s West Nile cases. So far this season Dallas County has reported 190 cases of the WNV infection with 10 confirmed deaths to date. In light of the escalating fatality rate and the extreme health risk represented by this season’s WNV outbreak, Judge Jenkins said “The decision was not an easy one but the top experts with the CDC and the state as well as our Dallas County Medical Society were unanimous that the aerial spraying is safe and more effective than the truck based spraying … aerial spraying will provide superior uniformity and kill mosquitoes in the back yards and other areas that trucks cannot reach. This is a complex and fast evolving outbreak and it is critical that, at minimum, that we place all possible resources at the disposal of our municipalities to protect their residents.”
Since Texas is a Home-Rule state, each city north of I-30 will have until 5pm Wednesday, August 15th to confirm their desire to aerial spray. Aircraft will be available later this week – please contact Laura McGowan (listed below) for details. Aerial Spraying is just one aspect of Dallas County’s multi-faceted integrated approach to eradicating the spread of the virus.
Aerial spraying is a very effective and safe way to kill adult mosquitoes in large, densely populated areas. We understand that many people have specific concerns regarding exposure during aerial spraying; for those people, 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 type of insecticide used in aerial spraying (DUET) has been selected after careful consideration due to its efficacy in killing mosquitoes while posing minimal risk to humans, agriculture and other animal life. The product is labeled and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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.
We will provide maps outlining each city which has opted in as soon as we get those confirmations. Below are links for information on DUET, the insecticide which will be used in the aerial spraying and other preventative information and Aerial Spraying FAQs for public education purposes.
As always, the first line of defense to prevent infection of the WNV is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. We urge citizens to be proactive by employing the 4-Ds of personal prevention:
DEET – use insect repellents that contain DEET, or any other EPA approved insect repellent
DRESS – Wear long, loose and light-colored clothing outside during dusk and dawn hours.
DRAIN – Remove all areas of standing water. Change water in wading pools, pet dishes and birdbaths several times a week.
DUSK/DAWN – Protect yourself during dusk and dawn hours
For more up-to-date information about infected mosquito pools, control efforts and prevention tips, subscribe to West Nile Watch by sending an email request to email@example.com or log onto http://www.dallascounty.org/westnilevirus. Dallas County HHS Newsletter:
Contact Information: Judge Clay Jenkins
Regarding Dallas County, contact
Maria Arita, PIO
Regarding DUET, the State (DSHS) contact
Carrie Williams, Director Media Relations
Regarding Clarke/Dynamic Aviation, Staging/Media Ops for Aerial Process, contact
Laura McGowan, Communications Director
West Nile Virus FAQs
Aerial Application FAQs