Ray Villeda, NBC 5 News
Concern over West Nile virus is leading to a flood of calls to emergency services and 311 call centers.
As Dallas County takes to the skies and the streets to fight the mosquitos carrying West Nile, concern is flooding 311 call centers and emergency departments.
In Dallas, the call center has seen a spike of more than 2,000 calls within the last 10 days. The calls picked up after Dallas County started aerial spraying, that following Friday there were about 900 calls just about spraying and West Nile virus symptoms.
Lately, the center’s manager, Cheryl Jones, said the focus of the calls are shifting.
“Mainly for the code violations, if they see standing water, pools that are in violation; not being cleaned, infested with mosquitos, just standing water in the streets, that haven’t been drained,” said Jones.
At nearby Baylor, Dr. Jim d’Etienne, supervises the emergency department. In the last few weeks he has seen a spike in folks coming in asking for West Nile virus tests.
“We are seeing more patients with requests and concerns. We are doing more tests,” d'Etienne said.
He said they are doing about 30-40 tests a week.
d’Etienne adds the testing is not necessary for folks who are displaying mild symptoms. Those patients, he explained are better served going to outpatient clinics.
“There’s no reason to do this test if you have mild symptoms or don’t have symptoms. If you don’t have any symptoms, don’t go to the hospital -- doesn’t do you any good,” d'Etienne said.