Damaged screens could add to risk of West Nile




Posted on August 29, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 6:21 PM

DALLAS — "That's a big tear right there," said Casey Hudson, a screen technician with Screenmobile as he pointed out a tear in a Dallas back door screen. "Anything could fly into that."

That's the main reason why Susan Werner is having her screens repaired and replaced.

"Worried a little bit about West Nile virus," Werner admitted. "It's going to be cooling down a little bit, and I wanted to be able to open my windows without worrying about it."

In North Texas, the southern house mosquito is the primary carrier of West Nile virus. As the name implies, the blood-suckers like being indoors, near people and pets that serve as an easy meal.

As temperatures drop and residents begin opening windows to save on electricity, there are concerns the number of West Nile cases in North Texas could actually rise.

Well-fit screens on windows and doors are considered another critical step in curbing the spread of West Nile, along with draining outdoor pots and wearing insect repellent.

Tony Varrichio says his mobile screen company is seeing an unexpected, but smart, surge in business for what is now a potentially life-saving service.

"I can't imagine the regret you'd have over something so silly and relatively inexpensive," Varrichio said.

Screen repairs can cost a few dollars if you do it yourself. It's one of those projects health officials are urging North Texans to do before the temperatures drop.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com