DALLAS - After receiving a letter from the Dallas County Medical Society unanimously favoring an immediate aerial insecticide spraying in Dallas County, commissioners agreed Tuesday to stay the course they previously set.
The commissioners reaffirmed their commitment to the current "Integrated Mosquito Control Plan" after getting an update on their battle against West Nile from the Health and Human Services director Zach Thompson.
With 130 reported cases and seven confirmed West Nile-related deaths so far this summer, Dallas County has been one of the hardest hit areas in the country. But, Thompson said spraying insecticide by air brings risks that have yet to be studied or understood in urban areas like Dallas.
A letter from the Dallas County Medical Society to the Dallas County Commissioners leaked to News 8 Monday recommended the immediate implementation of an aerial insecticide spraying plan to prevent the spread of West Nile virus in Dallas County.
The letter said the DCMS Community Emergency Response Committee held an emergency conference call Sunday night and voted 13-0 to recommend aerial spraying. There has not been aerial spraying in Dallas since 1966.
Thompson said, with the approval of 21 municipalities in Dallas County, the strategy for fighting West Nile is shifting ever so slightly starting later this week. Hard hit areas of the county, like North Dallas, will be saturated with insecticide sprayed by ground for three consecutive night's instead of one. The director said that will begin either later this week or early next week.
Other U.S. cities dealing with West Nile outbreaks this summer have already begun aerial insecticide spraying. Sacramento, Houston and parts of Massachusetts are among those cities.
Thompson said insecticide does effectively kill the mosquito population and lessens ones risk of getting bitten by a mosquito with West Nile. Right now, he said, the safest way to spread that insecticide is with trucks on the ground.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins also reminded North Texans to protect themselves by wearing mosquito repellent every day.
Below is a copy of the letter sent by the Dallas County Medical Society: