Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News
A North Texas lawmaker wants to make it easier for health officials to fight the outbreak of West Nile virus in stagnant water at abandoned homes.
A North Texas lawmaker wants to give health officials some legal cover when fighting the West Nile virus on certain properties.
State Sen. John Carona wants to make it legal for health officials to search out and treat stagnant pools of water at abandoned or foreclosed homes. Stagnant pools of water are breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus.
If health workers do go on the property, a note would have to be posted on the home's front door letting the owner or caretaker know which agency came on the property, the date and purpose of the treatment, as well as disclosure of the type of larvicide and effect of the chemical.
"This is an important health and safety issue, and the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services requested that I file this legislation," Carona said in a statement to NBC 5.
"The Dallas-Fort Worth area saw a record number of West Nile virus cases in 2012. Dallas County determined that homes that had been abandoned or foreclosed and that contained water features or pools were a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the disease. The county and city need authority to treat these properties, and Senate Bill 186 will give them that authority by allowing them to treat stagnant water with a mosquito larvicide in homes that have been abandoned or foreclosed," Carona's statement continued.
In a statement to NBC 5, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he supports the measure as a tool to fight West Nile virus.
"The most effective treatment for mosquito eradication is to kill them before they hatch by applying larvicide to standing water. Standing water in vacant or abandoned property becomes mosquito breeding grounds. This bill adds an important tool to fight the West Nile virus," Jenkins said.
More: Read SB 186