Mosquito threat takes a bite out of National Night Out

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 6:01 PM

DeSOTO -- Neighborhoods typically gather for National Night Out festivities at dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

With a record number of North Texas West Nile virus cases, spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes, the City of DeSoto decided not to put their residents at risk.

"We'd rather be safe than safe than sorry," said Mayor Carl Sherman.

Sherman said DeSoto cancelled the annual crime watch event, notifying neighborhood associations first through Facebook. City officials had prepared to bring mosquito repellent to every party attended by a council member, but decided that wasn't enough.

"Certainly we were prepared to have all the [repellent] and DEET for our citizens," Sherman said. "At the same time, realizing we have over 60 HOA's and going from neighborhood to neighborhood after we leave, there's still going to be children coming out to play."

Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson said he has fielded calls from cities asking whether they should cancel their plans. But he said the health department is not making an official recommendation.

"We're suggesting that cities make that call themself, but provide insect repellent for those who will be participating in the event," Thompson said.

The message from both Dallas and Tarrant Counties to cities holding National Night Out events Tuesday is to avoid being outside around dusk, wear long pants and shirts with long sleeves, and use insect repellent.

Texas cities have the option to celebrate National Night Out October 2. Many North Texas cities opt to do that anyway, due to the heat.

DeSoto will hold its National Night Out on the October date. Frisco is also giving citizens the option to reschedule their festivities to October.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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