The city of Richardson is starting its efforts to prevent West Nile virus earlier than it ever has before.
Richardson began testing samples of trapped mosquitoes on April 1 – or one full month ahead of schedule.
By the middle of the month, four samples in three separate neighborhoods returned mosquitoes testing positive for the virus.
“These were mosquitoes that survived the winter, somewhere holed up in a storm drain or in some protected area,” said Richardson Health Department Director Bill Alsup. “They fed late last fall, got infected with the virus through an infected bird. They recently emerged with the warm weather, and we caught them as they came out.”
The city planned to begin its ground spraying campaign in those three affected areas on Sunday night, but that plan was delayed because of the wind.
According to a Richardson news release, wind gusts up to 15 miles an hour prevents the proper application of the insecticide.
The city said, weather permitting, it will try to spray on Monday or Tuesday night.
The city council has also approved increasing the level of surveillance for the disease within city limits, including the city mosquito monitoring program as well as its response to positive samples.
“The really important key is that we’re out in front of it more so than we ever have been before in the state of Texas, here in Richardson and in Dallas County,” Alsup said. “We’re hopeful this early and hard attack will make for a better summer for us this year.”
Richardson’s strategy involves spraying affected areas two nights in a row.
The city will not spray if wind gusts exceed 10 miles per hour or if temperatures drop below 50 degrees.