The city of Dallas is joining other municipalities declaring a state of disaster during what has become the worst outbreak of West Nile virus in the United States in 2012.
Mayor Mike Rawlings signed an emergency proclamation Wednesday morning that authorizes him to call for aerial spraying of mosquitoes over the course of the next week.
Beyond the next seven days, City Council members would have to authorize an extension of the emergency proclamation. (Read the proclamation here.)
"I believe this is the right decision," Rawlings said during an emergency briefing of council members and the public at City Hall on Wednesday. "I cannot have any more deaths on my conscience because we did not take this action at this point."
As of Wednesday morning, 10 people in Dallas County with West Nile virus have died. Five of them were Dallas residents. Throughout North Texas, more than 500 people have been sickened by the virus, including 111 in the city of Dallas.
According to state officials who spoke during the briefing, it is equal to the number of West Nile virus deaths here in the past nine years.
Rawlings said he would recommend the entire city be sprayed by airplanes, not just the areas north of Interstate 30 that are most affected by the virus.
Spraying will begin Thursday night, weather permitting, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.
Specially-outfitted prop planes will dispense less than 2 tablespoons of Duet pesticide per acre from about 200 feet above ground.
The spraying will be done by Clarke.
Other Dallas County cities will participate in aerial spraying. Click here for the full list as of Aug. 15.
NBC 5's Lindsay Wilcox, Frank Heinz and Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.