The Richardson Health Department sprayed a portion of southeast Richardson June 26 based on a positive finding of West Nile in a mosquito testing pool. The spraying occurred in the area from Main Street/Belt Line Road south to Buckingham Road and U.S. 75/Central Expressway east to Jupiter Road.
“We monitor the spread of West Nile through the use of mosquito traps strategically placed around the City,” said Richardson Health Department Director Bill Alsup. “Any time we find a positive result in an area, we target it and the surrounding area to try to prevent the spread of the disease. It’s a measure that helps to limit exposure to the virus, but people still need to maintain vigilance in protecting themselves when they go outside.”
The City was notified of the positive West Nile test result by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The area targeted for spraying is based on the location where the positive result was located and also includes the surrounding area.
To protect from mosquito bites, people are urged to follow the Four D’s of protection:
- DRAIN standing water around the home,
- Use insect repellent containing DEET,
- Avoid being outdoors at DUSK and DAWN when mosquitoes are most active,
- And DRESS to protect yourself with long sleeves and pants to reduce skin exposure.
This will be the second spraying event to occur in Richardson in the past two weeks. The first spraying event occurred last week after mosquito pools and a Richardson resident tested positive for the West Nile virus. Three other cases of people infected with West Nile have also been reported in other parts of the Metroplex.
Spraying to control the population of mosquitoes and the spread of the West Nile virus is a last resort, and is part of a comprehensive plan the Richardson Health Department follows to control the mosquito population. All areas of the City are continuously monitored, and further sprayings will be scheduled based on mosquito surveillance used to monitor the spread of the West Nile virus.
Richardson is not alone in the noticed increase in mosquito populations and findings of West Nile in mosquitoes. Environmental conditions from last summer's drought, a mild winter and abundant spring rains have resulted in an increased population.
More on the West Nile Virus
The West Nile virus is caused by a bite from an infected mosquito that's already carrying the virus, but not all mosquitoes are capable of carrying or transmitting the disease. In North Texas, the risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito is greatest from July to October. Not everyone who gets bitten by an infected mosquito will get the virus, and it's rare for people to become very sick if they do develop symptoms from the disease.
Symptoms of West Nile virus vary depending upon the person who becomes infected. People who do develop symptoms usually suffer from mild "flu-like" illness. Rarely, symptoms may require medical care or hospitalization. The people who are most susceptible to the disease are the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.