Elle (nekokonneko) wrote in ontd_political,

Mayor Mike Rawlings declares state of emergency over West Nile, requests aerial pesticide spraying;

Update at 1:16 p.m.: Dallas City Hall has just posted this link to its aerial-spraying information page. There, it requests you “STAY TUNED for specific days and times aerial spraying will occur.” A fine idea.

Original item posted at 9:12 a.m.: Mayor Mike Rawlings has declared a state of emergency in Dallas over the spread of West Nile virus. He also requested that Dallas County and the state provide aerial pesticide spraying in the city to control mosquitoes that spread the virus.

The virus has claimed 10 lives in Dallas County. Five of those were Dallas residents. Many of those who died were in frail health and had underlying medical conditions.

“I think this is the right thing to do. I cannot have any more deaths on my conscience because we didn’t take action,” Rawlings said.

The city has seen 111 reported infections that caused 65 hospitalizations. The majority of reported cases have been the more serious neuro-invasive strain of the virus.

Rawlings said that 25 percent of all West Nile virus cases reported in the country have been in Dallas County.

Cities throughout Dallas County have been asked to decide whether they want to participate in the spraying program. Late Tuesday, the city council of Sachse opted out of the spraying program. A list of where other cities stand is at the bottom of this item, but shortly after Dallas signed on Richardson said it too wants help from above.

“The evidence is very compelling that it is time to expand on mosquito control efforts in our region,” said Richardson Mayor Bob Townsend in a statement. “Health leaders from government agencies at the federal, state and local level, and third party medical groups all support expanded action to limit the risks to people from contracting this potentially deadly disease.”

Aerial spraying remains extremely controversial. Opponents say harm from the spray is far more serious than the risk of West Nile infection.

City Manager Mary Suhm said spraying could begin as soon as Thursday. The state will determine the spraying schedule.

Council member Scott Griggs called on City Hall to do a much better job educating people about protecting themselves from bites and preventing mosquito breeding conditions in the first place.

“Let’s get the word out where all of our able-boded citizens can go around their homes, go around their places of business pick up your trash, drain the water. Dusk, dawn, DEET an how you dress. All those things can make a difference,” he said.

Griggs drew applause from a large crowd in the council chambers when he expressed skepticism about spraying.

“This spraying is absolutely a measure of last resort. I have questions about its efficacy. I have concerns about how it’s going to damage various ecosystems. And one option that’s on the table that hasn’t been fully picked up is education,” he said.


Here’s where Dallas County cities north of Interstate 30 stand on allowing aerial spraying. Cities must decide by 5 p.m. Wednesday whether to opt in.

Addison – Agreed to spraying

Carrollton – Decision expected Wednesday

Coppell – Decision expected Wednesday

Dallas – Agreed to spraying

Farmers Branch – Decision expected Wednesday

Garland – Agreed to spraying

Grand Prairie – Decision expected Wednesday

Highland Park – Agreed to spraying

Irving – Decision expected Wednesday

Mesquite – Agreed to spraying

Richardson – Agreed to spraying

Rowlett – Decision delayed until next week

Sachse – Will not participate

University Park – Agreed to spraying


Tags: health, texas

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