Credit DVBID Nearly half of all cases this year are out of Texas
In 2011 there were only 2 fatalities linked to the West Nile virus across Texas. This year 16 deaths have already been recorded, and several hundred people have been seriously sickened.
Yesterday Dallas County, Tx confirmed their 10th fatality of the year, and announced that they plan to begin aerial spraying for mosquitoes on Thursday night. Cities and municipalities have until the end of day today to opt out of the plan.
According to the State health department:
Texas has more than 380 state-confirmed cases of West Nile illness for 2012, including 16 related deaths. Texas is on track to have the most cases of West Nile illness since the disease first emerged in the state in 2002. (cite)
Despite these grim statistics, opposition to aerial spraying exists, with online letter writing and petition signings campaigns underway urging the city not to spray (see KDAF-TV report)
The plan is to use two small twin-engine aircrafts, flying at roughly 300 feet, to spray a chemical called DUET, which is EPA approved for use in outdoor and residential areas.
Application rates will average less than 1 ounce per acre, and this spray is chemically similar to the ones used for ground spraying operations.
Aware of concerns over aerial spraying, the State of Texas released this statement on the safety of the program, stating:
Aerial spraying is a very effective and safe way to kill adult mosquitoes in large, densely populated areas. For people concerned about exposure during aerial spraying, health officials suggest the following precautions:
- Minimize exposure. Avoid being outside, close windows and consider keeping pets inside while spraying occurs.
- If skin or clothes are exposed, wash them with soap and water.
- Rinse homegrown fruits and vegetables with water as a general precautionary measure.
- Cover small ornamental fish ponds.
- Because the chemical breaks down quickly in sunlight and water, no special precautions are suggested for outdoor swimming areas.
While only about 20% of the people who are infected with WNV ever develop symptoms – and most only experience a mild flu-like illness –a very small percentage will develop the the more severe, and sometimes deadly, `neuroinvasive’ form of WNV.
Although Texas is seeing the brunt of this year’s outbreak, the virus is showing up from coast-to-coast.
Six deaths have been reported in Louisiana, and another half dozen are scattered across Arizona, California, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, and Pennsylvania.
Neuroinvasive West Nile Disease has been reported in 27 states so far this year; Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.
Reason enough for health departments across the nation to urge people to follow the `5 D’s’ of mosquito protection:
To find out about the West Nile threat in your area, you can visit the DVBID website below:
Click on a state to link directly to their West Nile virus Web page.
See list below for additional city-level and main State Health Department Web sites.
And as a final note, the CDC recently updated their information on mosquito repellants.
Download PDF version formatted for print (32 KB/3 pages)
Repellents are an important tool to assist people in protecting themselves from mosquito-borne diseases.
CDC recommends the use of products containing active ingredients which have been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use as repellents applied to skin and clothing. EPA registration of repellent active ingredients indicates the materials have been reviewed and approved for efficacy and human safety when applied according to the instructions on the label.
Repellents for use on skin and clothing:
CDC evaluation of information contained in peer-reviewed scientific literature and data available from EPA has identified several EPA registered products that provide repellent activity sufficient to help people avoid the bites of disease carrying mosquitoes. Products containing these active ingredients typically provide reasonably long-lasting protection:
- DEET (Chemical Name: N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide or N,N-diethly-3-methyl-benzamide)
- Picaridin (KBR 3023, Chemical Name: 2-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperidinecarboxylic acid 1-methylpropyl ester )
- Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus* or PMD (Chemical Name: para-Menthane-3,8-diol) the synthesized version of oil of lemon eucalyptus
- IR3535 (Chemical Name: 3-[N-Butyl-N-acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester)