Brian Scott, Denton County Reporter
Signs are already up in Little Elm as the Denton County town prepares for the worst and hopes for the best in the 2013 West Nile virus battle.
Officials in Little Elm are already launching plans against a possible West Nile virus outbreak this summer.
Assistant Town Manager Doug Peach says city leaders have started posting warning signs throughout town in areas likely to see large populations of mosquitoes this summer.
"We had two confirmed cases late in the season,” said Peach. "There were cases all over the North Texas area; the Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Collin County area. So it's very important."
Peach says 2012 was a fairly calm season for West Nile in Little Elm, but he hopes they can keep their numbers even lower in 2013.
The Little Elm Town Council tasked Public Works Director Kevin Mattingly and Fire Chief Joe Florentino to set up a plan in preparation for the 2013 mosquito season.
“We’re taking a ‘hope for the best, but prepare for the worst’ scenario, since we don’t know how we will be affected in this area,” said Mattingly.
Town leaders and leaders throughout Denton County urge residents to prepare as well saying education is their strongest tool against the West Nile virus.
Little Elm Fire Chief Florentino is encouraging residents to practice the four D’s of prevention - dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active, dress in ways that keep exposed skin at a minimum, drain all standing water and overturn receptacles and DEET-based insecticides are best when combating pests.
Several areas have been marked to apply larvicide and set mosquito traps that will begin in April.
Peach says drainage structures, creeks and back-wood type areas, along with the lake in the center of town are susceptible to mosquitoes.
Right now, it’s unclear what the area will see in regards to the West Nile virus. In February, Denton County Public Health Director Bing Burton told NBC 5 that the bird population may not be large enough this year to create a significant West Nile virus incident again.
The entire county is also preparing for mosquito season by setting traps of their own and working with governments in the area to make sure everyone has a plan.
Peach says they aren’t even looking at the forecasts but are instead planning like this will be their most mosquito-heavy season yet.
“We're definitely going to hope for the best but prepare for the worst,” Peach said. "Let the public know that the Town of Little Elm is being proactive.”