West Nile Virus Under Control, Dallas Co. Health Says

In a briefing to Dallas County Commissioners on Tuesday, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson said things were "pretty quiet" in comparison to last year when it came to the West Nile virus.

"If, in fact, we were faced with 2012 now, the same scenario, we would be making a recommendation to the court to begin aerial spraying," Thompson said.

At this time last year, 36 traps had detected mosquitoes with the dangerous disease. This year, only one has come back positive and there have been no confirmed human cases in the county, Thompson said.

Thompson also told commissioners the criteria for classifying a human case of the virus requires more documentation, thus could result in a decline in official cases.

Dr. Christopher Perkins, the medical director for Dallas County, explained that cases may be incorrectly classified, so the state and Centers for Disease Control have required that certain symptoms be more heavily documented in order for the cases to be officially filed as West Nile virus.

There's a checklist for health departments to check before adding patients to the official list of West Nile victims, Perkins said.

Documentation of the patient's fever, tests, signs observed by the physician and symptoms exhibited by the patient are required, or they won't be classified as West Nile by health departments.

Thompson said that if there were as many cases as there were this time last year, he would be asking for aerial spraying to begin.  At this time, Thompson said, that's not necessary.

"Things are relatively quiet," Perkins said.

The county is moving forward with spending $20,000 for mosquito dunks in cities that don't currently provide them to residents. Dunks are placed in areas of standing water to kill mosquito larvae.

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