West Nile Virus a problem in Rockwall County too
ROCKWALL – As the City of Dallas today proclaimed a state of emergency due to the the West Nile Virus, Rockwall County health authorities also issued a statement urging preventative measures be taken to prevent the disease from infecting citizens locally.
Thus far, 10 people in Dallas have died and over 160 have contracted the disease across Dallas County. Over 60 have been hospitalized. Those who died were already sick or ill in some manner.
Dr. Gary Bonacquisti, Rockwall County Health Authority, has reported that there are confirmed cases of West Nile virus in Rockwall County. Epidemiological tests are being run to determine an accurate number of cases. He encourages residents to continue with personal protection measures to reduce their exposure to the virus.
Dr. David Lensch, Health Officer for the City of Rockwall, is working with Dr. Bonacquisti to assist their respective entities. Dr. Lensch advises that prevention through the recommended precautions is of greatest importance, adding that those with viral symptoms, including fever and headache, should consider testing.
Dr. Bonacquisti is working with the Department of State Health Services to determine the number of confirmed cases and the location of the patient’s residence.
To reduce exposure to West Nile virus:
- Use an approved insect repellent every time you go outside and follow the instructions on the label. Approved repellents are those that contain DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Regularly drain standing water, including water that collects in empty cans, tires, buckets, clogged rain gutters and saucers under potted plants. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.
- Wear long sleeves and pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Use air conditioning or make sure there are screens on all doors and windows to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
Royse City Council Member James Branch announced yesterday on his Facebook page that Royse City began spraying for mosquitoes last night.
The City of Rowlett issued a release yesterday stating the City Council will address whether or not to aerial spray at their Aug. 21 Council meeting:
“In response to Dallas County’s request for an emergency meeting and a rapid decision to participate in aerial spraying for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus, the City of Rowlett is issuing the following statement:
“While the City of Rowlett appreciates the level of concern for the number of West Nile Virus cases in Dallas County, which is 160 cases to date, we want to make an informed decision on whether to participate in their proposed aerial spraying of insecticides. We recognize that Dallas County has requested a decision to participate by Thursday. However, we are committed to an open and transparent process that includes opportunities for citizens of this community to be educated and offer input. Therefore this subject and the possible long term ramifications to our citizens and the environment will be discussed at a public hearing during the August 21 City Council Meeting.
We will continue to work with Dallas County to facilitate targeted ground spraying over three consecutive nights in areas where mosquitoes or citizens testing positive for the virus have occurred. We also STRONGLY encourage everyone to follow the three D’s for prevention: DEET, DRAIN, DRESS: Use mosquito repellent with DEET anytime you are going to be outside. Be sure and drain standing water and/or treat it appropriately. Be sure and wear light colored long sleeves, when working outside.”
For additional info about the Virus, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/wnv_factsheet.htm.
By J.J. Smith