West Nile Virus cases just keep coming, county officials stated at a Thursday afternoon press conference.
Denton County Health Department Director Bing Burton saidthere are six new cases today alone for the virus bringing the total to 118, what he believed to be the highest incident rate in the state.
“It’s a dubious honor we’re not real proud of,” he said.
County Judge Mary Horn discussed the health emergency declaration and the imminent aerial spraying to combat the virus outbreak.
Horn said since the declaration order was made at about 1 p.m. Wednesday and all the county towns and cities had been contacted to see if they wanted to opt into the spraying.
Horn said officials hope to know by 3 p.m. Tuesday, the time of the next press conference, exactly what cities want to be sprayed and help determine which areas will be sprayed first.
Of the total cases, 83 have been diagnosed as West Nile virus while 36 were found to be the more serious neuroinvasive disease.
Burton said officials are not taking the virus lightly.
“Many of those people will fully recover, for many it will be a life changing event,” Burton said.
Burton said municipalities have been doing a good job of ground spraying so far, and the aerial spraying would just add to those efforts.
Decisions on spraying unincorporated areas have not yet been made, Burton said.
Spraying will take place between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. from planes that will fly out of Denton’s local airport.
The county will use the same company Dallas County used, Clarke.
Emergency Services Director Jody Gonzalez said he feels the spray, which has been ruled harmless to pets and people, will work well against the mosquitoes and virus spread.
“Based on what the state told us previously and what we were told today, one night of aerial spray is as good as 40 spray trucks,” Gonzalez said.
Horn said the county is trying to stay ahead of the virus outbreak.
“This is something to be taken serious and I certainly do,” she said. “Hopefully this proactive approach will lessen the impact to Denton County citizens.”