Texas taking precautions against WNV, local counties staying the - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Texas taking precautions against WNV, local counties staying the same

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WACO -

After a deadly outbreak of west nile virus last year, Texas is starting to prepare for the coming season.

In mid January the Texas State Senate introduced bill number 186.  This bill says local officials can go on an abandoned property if they can't contact the owner and investigate an infestation such as mosquitoes. 

The McLennan County Health Department says this bill would help the city.  That's because sometimes they can't reach an owner of the property for several months.  When that happens, mosquito populations can increase because their life span is so short. 

"So if it takes a long time to contact an owner there's a lot of mosquitoes being hatched out well literally weekly," program administrator with the department David Litke said. 

After a deadly outbreak with 18 deaths from the virus last year, Dallas County is also taking steps.  County Judge Clay Jenkins says they're spending $350,000 total on preventative measures.  Jenkins says $115,000 of that will go towards testing for the virus in mosquitoes while the rest will go towards increasing truck spraying throughout the county.

"The problem is they're everywhere," Litke said.  "All conditions, all types of property, all kinds of situations.  It's very difficult just to go through and eradicate mosquitoes, it's impossible."

Litke says that problem is why McLennan County does not spray and is not planning on doing anything more than last year.   Coryell County Judge John Firth says they're not planning on doing anything either. 

"What's the risk, what's the problem in terms of mosquito burn infections.  The risk to its citizens and what that cost would be even for a smaller area of the city," Firth said. 

Firth says it's essentially a cost-benefit analysis to determine if they should take an active approach to precaution. 

"We're still talking a large area and the cost of, to do something like that would be in the tens of thousands of dollars," Firth said. 

Litke says they're focusing on educating people to make sure there's no standing water in their yards.  He also says people should follow the four d's: Dress in long sleeved shirts, avoid being outside between Dawn and Dusk, Drain any standing water and use insect repellant containing Deet. 

"It kind of falls into two categories," Litke said.  "Eliminate the breedings so we quit raising the mosquitoes or reduce the numbers and then personal protection."

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