West Nile Returns to Dallas

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Dallas County has declared war on West Nile.

Area health officials can’t pinpoint what caused the 2012 West Nile season to be so bad or why the number of cases dropped so dramatically in 2013 but, this year they are ready.

“It’s hard to anticipate where the disease is going to be. But the important thing is that we are doing surveillance year round and we are looking for the virus,” said Dallas County Entomologist Spencer Lockwood.

Officials have already confirmed its first positive West Nile mosquito trap this season. But, are SMU students concerned?

“Definitely not,” Kalen Lewis said who is a senior at SMU.

“No,” said Genesis Reed who is also a senior at SMU.

Even for those allergic to mosquitos, West Nile does not seem to pose a threat.

“I am actually not doing anything to prepare which is probably bad because I am like really allergic to mosquitos,” said junior Stephanie Embree.

In the Dallas County Mosquito Lab, entomologists collect data on this season’s West Nile. After entomologists discover that an area tested positive for the virus, they begin mosquito fogging.

“If we find a positive sample, we will target the adult mosquitos specifically and we will spray for the adult mosquitos. Other prevention methods includes larvaciding,” Lockwood said.

The Dallas County West Nile campaign promotes collective and personal effort to ensure safety.

“We can’t get rid of all the mosquitos but we can lessen our chances by taking personal responsibility, as well as, keeping our neighborhoods clean of debris where water can collect and breed mosquitos,” Christopher Perkins said who is the Dallas County Health and Human Services Medical Director.

The Dallas County Health and Human Services does not encourage being bit, but there is some good news about this epidemic.

“One thing that is fortunate about West Nile is that once you do get infected with it you are immune for the rest of your life. But, the main thing is do not attempt to get infected because we cannot predict if you will have a mild or severe [reaction to West Nile] so, the best precaution is to utilize the 4Ds,” Perkins said.

The 4Ds are tips to help you avoid mosquito bites.

Dallas County Health and Human services recommends that you stay indoors during dusk and dawn. Dress in long sleeves and pants and lightly colored and loose clothing. They also say to utilize insect repellent with deet and finally, drain all standing water.

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