Fort Worth to stick with ground campaign in West Nile fight

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on August 20, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 20 at 11:39 PM

FORT WORTH - Tarrant County confirmed two more West Nile virus-related deaths Monday, the third and fourth this year in that county.

The City of Fort Worth has used targeted ground spraying so far to combat the spread of the virus. Crews finished a three-day round of ground spraying in ZIP codes 71604 and 76110.

The city hopes to get mosquito trap results from those areas on Wednesday.

"Right now, all of the surveillance and epidemiology and other data suggest that our targeted ground spraying wherever we have clusters is effective enough," said Brandon Bennett, the city's code compliance director. "[Aerial spraying is] always on the table, but there is no need for it at this point."

Bennett keeps track of every human case in the city. His map is sprinkled with red dot stickers. Each dot represents a person infected with the disease.

So far, the city has 56 cases and two deaths.

Bennett told News 8, science is guiding their efforts, and the experts -- from researchers, to medical experts to the CDC -- are advising them to stay on the ground.

"We are not seeing what Dallas was seeing," Bennett said. "Their cases were widespread, large number of victims, the data [included] the two types of West Nile - fever and neuro-invasive."

Bennett added that in comparison to Dallas, they are not seeing the amount of hot zones for the virus that would lead to a possible aerial assault.

"What type of case, the time in between cases, the mosquito sampling -- all of those things play a role, and right now aerial spraying is not in the game plan," Bennett said. "It's not warranted in the game plan right now."

The city has no other ground spraying missions scheduled. But they are keeping an eye on ZIP codes 76137 and 76244 because they have seen a few human cases and mosquitoes carrying the virus.

The city will hold a community meeting for neighborhoods in those ZIP codes Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at Summerglen Library at 4205 Basswood Boulevard.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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