DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has declared a Public Health Emergency in Dallas County due to the West Nile virus outbreak. Jenkins used his authority as the Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to file a Local Disaster Declaration with the state on Thursday.
The county will also request that other "regional jurisdictions" provide assistance to county in its fight against the spread of the virus.
According to Zachary Thompson, Dallas County's Director of Health and Human Services, the county now has 190 cases of West Nile. Nine people in Dallas County have died so far this year.
Thompson spoke with CBS 11 News on Thursday night and again on Friday morning. He said that the City of Dallas has been hit particularly hard, and that the county and city need these additional resources because, starting this Monday, they will jointly spray the same area in Dallas for three nights in a row. This will be the strategy from now on when they spray.
"When you're in an outbreak, the recommendation is, you have to go three consecutive nights to ensure you're getting all of the mosquitoes in that area. And we've tested that in an area, and it reduced the number of mosquitoes in that area, so we know it worked," Thompson said.
An announcement of where the city will spray for three nights in row is expected within a few days.
In a press release, Jenkins said, "This declaration will expand our avenues for assistance in our ongoing battle with West Nile virus. We are in constant communication with our state and regional partners." Also on Thursday, Jenkins announced a summit meeting of state, federal and county officials to review the county's efforts to control West Nile. The meeting is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
The Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services has also asked people to use the D's method when fighting West Nile:
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET.
- DRAIN any standing water.
- DRESS in long, loose and light-colored clothing.
- Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from DUSK to DAWN.