The City of Denton hired Municipal Mosquito to spray for mosquitoes in a southwest Denton neighborhood after a resident contracted the Zika virus while traveling abroad.[[391655291,C]]
City Environmental Services Director Dr. Kenneth Banks directed crews to the area near the intersection of Buena Vista Drive and Almonte.
The Denton County Health Department alerted the city about the case on Friday.
"For West Nile, we're trying to protect people from getting exposed to mosquitoes," said Banks. "Right now, we're trying to prevent mosquitoes from being exposed to the infected person."
Unlike West Nile virus spraying events, which have trucks fogging the neighborhood from the street, Zika spraying requires an up-close approach.
"This type of treatment is up close and personal. Zika is a battle of individual properties, not of zip codes," said Municipal Mosquito entomologist and president Patrick Pratcher. "West Nile you may treat an actual zip code. With Zika, you're interested in the number of houses."
Pratcher said his team has been out 20 times in various areas across North Texas this season to help prevent the spread of Zika. He said he expects to be out even more.
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The City of Denton said mosquitoes that carry Zika breed close to homes and don't fly far from that area. In order to spray for the bugs, crews gained permission from homeowners to enter private property and spray using hand-held devices.
"This is a proper response for a travel case of Zika to keep the virus from being introduced to the broader population," said Pratcher. "We're just not out treating the grass or treating the open air. We're treating the areas where mosquitoes like to rest during the day and where they rest before they come out."
City leaders stress that the spraying is a precautionary move and that there has been no local transmission of the virus by mosquitoes.