Chris Van Horne
The City of Fort Worth's Code Compliance Department spent Saturday trying to limit the number of West Nile hazards in a neighborhood home to the first human case in North Texas in 2013.
The fight against the West Nile Virus is even more serious as residents in one Fort Worth zip code continue to get more information about the first human case in North Texas this year.
The 76110 is home to a woman in her 40's who public health officials revealed has the disease on Friday.
City workers spent part of Saturday talking to residents in the zip code about the virus, the first human case and the response.
It's something residents are already familiar with having had several cases in the vicinity just last year.
"Last year it was a big problem around here, there were some cases in Fairmount and Hospital District so it's been on our mind since then," said Mistletoe Heights resident Josh Lindsay.
At the Mistletoe Heights block party on Saturday night, food competed for table space with bug spray. The concern over the virus is even more on residents' minds now because the first human case lives just a few blocks away.
"It's a woman our age and a lot of people here know her," Lindsay said. And now the neighborhood they know is under heavy watch by Fort Worth health authorities.
"We will saturate this area with additional traps," said Code Compliance Director Brandon Bennett, who oversees the city's public health response.
Bennett and his code compliance officers posted fliers on residents' doors on Saturday to give them the latest information about the virus. They also worked to find potential sources for mosquito breeding.
Officers found potential sources in old paint cans, upside down cooler lids, plastic cups, broken garden fountains, empty pots and more.
In one vacant home's backyard, Bennett found a mosquito pool likely responsible for thousands of mosquitoes. "I'm going to drop a dunk, there's mosquitoes active here," Bennett said as he examined the standing water.
"It's very upsetting, explains why we can't go into our backyard and enjoy our back patio without getting swarmed by mosquitoes," Sarah Plummer Erekson, a neighbor, said.
Code will work to mitigate the threat at that home and that remains the active plan in the city. Check alleys, storm drains and anywhere else that might house mosquitoes and prevent them from breeding.
"What we'd like to see as we educate the public and we drain the source pools, that we start seeing a decrease in the overall number of mosquitoes and what we want to do is work toward eliminating those that carry the virus," Bennett said.
That's something residents in Mistletoe Heights say they're already doing, draining water and alerting authorities to mosquitoes.
"That's the good thing about having this neighborhood," Lindsay.
Mosquito samples were collected over night Friday in the area, the city hopes to have results in about by as early as Monday. Bennett says they'll determine what next steps to take, if any, if there are problems with the number of mosquitoes and the virus.