Denton County officials will conduct aerial spraying of pesticides Thursday and again Friday in municipalities that have agreed to join in the countywide effort to control mosquitoes.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 26 municipalities had opted for the aerial spraying, while 11 had opted out. County officials were still waiting for responses from four municipalities that were scheduled to meet Tuesday night.
Denton County officials held a news conference Tuesday afternoon in the Denton County Courthouse on the Square to discuss plans for this week’s aerial spraying. The spraying is scheduled from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday. The county will use four airplanes.
“Each area will receive two equal coats,” said Bing Burton, Denton County Health Department director.
Officials will meet again today and release a news release on their final decisions. Burton said Hurricane Isaac could potentially force the county to change its plans.
The storm, depending on its path, could send rain and high winds into the area, which would make the spray ineffective, he said, adding that officials will continue to monitor the storm.
County Judge Mary Horn said she’s happy to see many of the county’s municipalities agree to the aerial spraying because of the health concerns the West Nile virus has presented.
On Tuesday, the county added six West Nile cases, pushing the total cases reported to 128. Burton also said a Nebraska man in his 80s, who recently visited Highland Village, was diagnosed with the virus after returning home and later died. Denton County officials will not record the case as the county’s third West Nile virus-related death because the man died in his home state, and Burton said the victim could have been infected anywhere.
Horn said she is optimistic the aerial spraying will work, and she’s disappointed that the city of Denton opted out of the program.
Burton said Denton has an aggressive ground-spraying program, and Denton city officials said it’s enough based on their testing. However, Horn said, Denton officials have yet to give her an official statement in writing, and until they do, she hopes they’ll reconsider.
“I’m sorry they feel that way; I think they should’ve opted in,” Horn said. “Maybe they’ll reconsider, maybe not.”
Overall, Horn said, she’s pleased a large portion of the southern county agreed to join because that’s where most of the cases have been reported.
Officials will test the effectiveness of the spraying by trapping mosquitoes before and after each round, Burton said.
Last week, Horn issued an executive order, declaring West Nile virus a threat to the county, its municipalities and residents.
Because the state and federal resources are expected to be available this week, the county asked municipalities to notify the county regarding their choice to opt in or opt out.
On Monday night, several municipalities, including Oak Point, Lewisville, Shady Shores and Sanger, agreed to aerial spraying in an attempt to eliminate mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus.
The decisions were met with both positive and negative comments, officials said.
Oak Point City Manager Douglas Mousel said council members in his city did not take their decision lightly, and they made a decision that they felt was in the best interest of Oak Point and its residents.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail is email@example.com .
The following list is of area cities that have decided whether to allow aerial spraying.
Agreed to spraying: Aubrey, Castle Hills (Denton County Fresh Water Supply 1-A), Copper Canyon, Corral City, Crossroads, Dish, Double Oak, Flower Mound, Hackberry, Hickory Creek, Justin, Krugerville, Krum, Lake Dallas, Lakewood Village, Lewisville, Lincoln Park, Northlake, Oak Point, Pilot Point, Ponder, Providence Village, Sanger, Southlake, Shady Shores, Trophy Club and Westlake.
Declined spraying: Bartonville, Carrollton, Coppell, Denton, Frisco, Haslet, Hebron and Little Elm.
Officials in The Colony requested state resources for ground spraying. Dallas County cities opted out, having made their decision earlier with that county’s aerial spraying.