West Nile diagnosis triggers worry, but still no mosquito spray

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by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 2:34 PM

DALLAS — Jill Roark says her mother, Ginger Larkin, used to enjoy evenings on the front porch. Now her family avoids the porch at dusk and runs into the house to escape the mosquitoes.

On Monday, the 76-year-old grandmother fell ill and went to the hospital.

Then on Wednesday, doctors diagnosed her with West Nile virus.

"All the other effects are gone," Roark said. "The shakes are gone and everything. She just has a long road ahead of her with this disease."

To protect the rest of her family, Roark wants the city to spray for mosquitoes, but she can't find her neighborhood on the spray list.

She said she's called 311 to report her mother's illness several times.

"311 told me we had to have standing water to even report for them to come out and test a mosquito,” Roark said. "Well, I don't have standing water, so how do I get them to come out and report?"

The city said it confirms all human cases of West Nile with the health department. That triggers aggressive mosquito spraying in the immediate area.

Other triggers include horses found to have the disease, reports of dead blue jays, cardinals, owls, doves or hawks.

The city also checks standing water in drainage ditches and vacant lots.

Roark said she'll keep checking for when a truck hits her neighborhood, and she's not bringing her mother home until she sees one.

The city said it relies on the health department to confirm human cases before it sprays.

Citizens can report a loved one with West Nile virus by calling 311. You can also report dead birds and standing water in vacant lots to have those tested.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

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