DALLAS - Dallas County's aerial attack on the spread of West Nile virus is following the lead of the mosquitoes themselves.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) initially said Highland Park, University Park and parts of North and East Dallas were the only areas that need to be sprayed from the air to control mosquito populations. The plan will still begin over that 49,000-acre swath of Dallas County Thursday night, but the battle will expand from there.
The target area is based on infection and infestation rates, said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, and nothing else. He said the CDC initially said only a small portion of north Dallas and the Park Cities should be sprayed. Then they came back with an expanded recommendation.
"Based on the science and the CDC, the state was recommending we go to where the disease is at its highest right now, and that's north," Jenkins said. "That makes sense. If it would have been on our southern border, that's where we'd be."
On Thursday, planes will spray pesticides over Dallas, Highland Park and University Park between 8:30 p.m. and midnight.
In a yet-to-be-determined night to follow, South Dallas will be sprayed, as will Addison, Mesquite, Coppell, Carrollton, Richardson, Farmers Branch and Garland. Sachse and Irving opted out of aerial spraying.
Jenkins will meet with representatives of cities in the southern part of Dallas County Thursday. It will be their first official chance to opt-in to spraying. He said they will face a quick deadline to decide if they want to be part of the next round of spraying.
Jenkins said Wylie did not respond to the offer. Rowlett requested more time, but Jenkins said more time might not be possible.
"I will go to bat for any city, but the planes are going to be here for a short amount of time," he said. "I am not optimistic, but I will see."
Jenkins said county employees are working around the clock to map out a grid and feed it to the pilots, who are responsible for the plan. He said weather is the only thing that could impact the aerial spraying.