North Texas health officials have boosted ground spraying to combat an abundance of mosquitoes this year from heavy rain and flooding. And now, recent approval of federal public assistance for the spring flood disaster declaration means Washington will help cover the cost of increased spraying.
The public assistance also helps cover repairs to public parks and roads. Dallas estimates damage could be $61 million.
"It means up to 75 percent of that will be reimbursed by the federal government," Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said.
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Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson said the extra support comes at the time of year when human cases of mosquito transmitted West Nile virus normally appear.
So far this year 15 Dallas County mosquito traps have tested positive for West Nile virus, but no human cases have been reported.
"So it looks like the mosquito control plan is working," Thompson said. "But again we're going into the height of July which is normally when we see human cases."
High numbers of human West Nile virus cases have actually come in dryer years when mosquitoes were not as abundant. Thompson said it is too soon to say whether history will be repeated this summer.
"We have high abundance. And in those years, we've had low transmission of the West Nile virus. So right now, the next three weeks, keep our fingers crossed and see what the data tells us," he said.