Catherine Ross, NBC 5 Collin County Reporter
Health officials say the number of new West Nile virus cases in Plano and in Collin County have been decreasing over the past two weeks, but Plano says it will begin its 2013 prevention plan earlier.
While health officials say the number of new West Nile virus cases in Plano and in Collin County as a whole have been decreasing over the past two weeks, on Wednesday, the city reported its second West Nile virus-related death.
"It does not mean it is over," said Plano Environmental Health Manager Geoff Heinicke, referring to the fight against the virus. "We're more aware of the threat."
While Heinicke says data and projection shows, at least for the Plano, the mosquito season will likely end in October, as is standard, the city will start its preparations for next summer earlier than it has in years past.
"Based on early analysis of data, we might push out the message [by early to mid-April]", he said.
The recent death, Heinicke said, was related to a West Nile virus case reported earlier in the summer. He emphasized it was not the result of a newly contracted virus.
However, the city does not want citizens to stop being on their guard.
Plano is actively tracking dead birds, though they are not testing the animals for carrying West Nile virus.
The city has also introduced Gambusia minnows, also known as mosquito fish, to natural waterways. The fish are known predators of mosquito larvae.
For Jamie Jarvey, mother to a young family which recently relocated to North Texas, it's been a summer filled with concern.
"It's scary – scary to hear about," she said. "I want to take the proper precautions, but I don't want to keep my kids from being able to go outside and play."
As of Friday afternoon, 28 cases of the West Nile Virus had been reported in Plano.
The city says over the past three months, the virus-related illness has affected one out of every 9,643 Plano residents.