Tammy Mutasa, Garland/Mesquite Reporter
Garland city leaders are preparing for mosquito season with a new plan of defense and bracing for the worst case scenario.
Garland city officials has a more-aggressive plan this year to fight West Nile virus.
Two months before West Nile virus season officially starts, the city is planning for a worst-case scenario, saying this year is unpredictable.
Health officials are setting out fixed-location mosquito traps earlier than in years past.
"I love killing mosquitoes," said Jeff Crocker, Garland Health Department. "We love killing mosquitoes. "They are a pest."
The city has set traps all year long but is increasing the number from one to four in April. Garland wants seven fixed traps by by the summer, as well as several other random sites.
"The fixed sites were recommended by the CDC," Crocker said. "They did an evaluation from the response from last year's West Nile outbreak and they recommended more fixed sites and less of the ad hoc sites."
Garland is also part of Dallas County's first-resistance testing program, which makes sure mosquitoes don't become resistant to pesticide.
Aerial spraying is not ruled out, but it is considered a final option.
"Everybody knows from last year's West Nile outbreak it's a serious disease," said Crocker. "We don't want anyone to take it lightly."
Last year in Garland, one person died and 41 people were sickened by the virus.
Residents such as Leonor Norris are taking extra precautions, such as making sure to not leave standing water around.
"There were several deaths last year, and I'm hoping the same thing doesn't happen this year," Norris said. "We can prevent [them]."
Last year, Garland health officials tested as many 5,912 mosquitoes and also found 535 mosquito breeding sites, which they eliminated.
But residents such as Randy Calix say being prepared for the worst is the best plan.
"I'm just hoping it doesn't affect as many people as last year, but I think it'll be the same, if not worse," said Calix.