Commissioners: More Data Needed To Justify Aerial Spraying | KERA News

Commissioners: More Data Needed To Justify Aerial Spraying

Aug 7, 2012

Dallas County Commissioners are rejecting a call from the local medical society for immediate aerial spraying for mosquitoes as the number of West Nile cases climbs. 

Dr. John Carlo is a former Medical Director of Dallas County, and now heads the Dallas County Medical Society’s Community Emergency Response Committee.  He says the committee weighed the risks and voted unanimously to recommend immediate aerial spraying.

“Looking at the balance between how risky the situation is going outside with the infection rates in mosquitoes versus any unknown risks of the spray itself, and we really felt there was just overwhelming evidence supporting spraying at this time given the high rates of infection in mosquitoes,” Carlo said.

But Dallas County Health Department director Zach Thompson says he doesn’t have enough data on the effects of blanket spraying on a major urban area.

“We want to see a similar city, not one that has a wetland, not one that has a large rural area,” Thompson said. “We really need some information and research to really look at how effective that’s going to be.  That can’t be based on just someone sending a letter to us.”

Dr. Carlo says a recent study of aerial spraying in Sacramento, posted below this piece, showed very positive results and no ill effects on human health.

County Commissioners rejected the aerial spraying idea, voicing support for the targeted neighborhood truck spraying.  Dallas County Medical Director Dr. Christopher Perkins says the targeted ground spraying makes it easier for people to avoid the pesticide.

“Because it’s done from late night into the early morning. So, to minimize exposure risk is to take action by staying indoors, including bringing your pets inside," he said.

Zach Thompson says officials with the county and the city are launching a stepped-up effort: three consecutive nights in the same neighborhood.  Thompson says a test showed a significant decrease in mosquito population with the three-in-a-row approach. 

Dallas County reports 130 cases of West Nile virus and seven deaths.

Dallas County Medical Society's letter to commissioners

Efficacy of Aerial Spraying of Mosquito Adulticide in reducing Incidence of West Nile Virus