Grand Prairie residents and city leaders are working to avoid a repeat of last year’s West Nile virus outbreak.
The city of Grand Prairie is adding seasonal employees, increasing the number of trappings per week and creating a very visible advertising campaign to fight against West Nile virus this year.
"Last year in Grand Prairie we had 11 mosquitos test positive for West Nile, 18 human West Nile virus cases, and two deaths. We do not want to have that again this summer," said Grand Prairie’s Director of Communications Amy Sprinkles.
More than 400 complaints for stagnant swimming pools kept crews busy.
"Out of the 400 some were already treated by the time we got there,” said Senior Environmental Specialist Werner Rodriguez. “There's still a large number that is still untreated or unmaintained that needs to be maintained and treated to prevent mosquitoes from breeding,"
Rodriguez hoped getting the word out will net some positive results.
"Citizens are pretty much our first line of defense. If they can maintain water away from their properties, they will be doing half of what we have to do," he said.
The city is stepping up its efforts from this year – even adding seasonal employees.
During the beginning of last year's mosquito season, city workers only set about a handful of these traps a week. But this time around they're increasing that number to 25 a week, hoping to target problem areas as quickly as possible.
"Our biggest change is, we will automatically spray Thursday night and Friday night in areas that test positive for West Nile," said Sprinkles.
The city is also preparing to launch a $45,000 campaign called 'Fight the Bite.'
"We're going to do TV. We're going to do billboards; we are vehicle-wrapping, graphic wrapping the trucks. We've got a new crew that will be in camo shirts, we are fighting the bite with camos this year," Sprinkles said.
Residents can find out if their areas will be affected by enrolling on the city's website or reverse 911. They can also connect the city on Facebook and Twitter.
Sprinkles said there is up to a $2,000 fine for breeding mosquitoes.