North Texas Gears Up For An Early Mosquito Season

North Texas is gearing up to "Fight The Bite," bracing for an early start to mosquito season.

“We’ve had a warmer winter, we’re expected to have rainfall in the springtime, so that’s obviously going to increase mosquito populations,” said Whitney Qualls, Medical Entomologist, Texas Department of State Health Services.

Nearly 200 public health professionals from across North Texas attended a day-long seminar at the Grapevine Convention Center, preparing for the season which many believe will begin in April.

“My Magic 8 Ball is broken right now, so predictions (are) unknown at this time,” said Scott Sawlis, Mosquito Control Supervisor with Dallas County Health & Human Services, “however West Nile virus is endemic, we will have West Nile.”

The Zika virus also remains a threat and mosquito control professionals are learning from last year’s outbreaks in Florida and South Texas.

“We hope for more time to get things in place and to really get geared up, but we can’t assume that,” said Tom Sidwa, with the Texas Department of State Health Services, “we have to plan for it happening tomorrow.”

A local company with government contracts throughout North Texas, Municipal Mosquito now has a powerful truck-mounted mister that can be used against mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus.

“This was widely used in Miami Dade during their recent locally transmitted Zika as an effective way to treat the neighborhoods without putting planes in the air,” said Municipal Mosquito’s Patrick Prather.

“It puts out the larvicide material that we normally put out while we’re walking thru backyards and walking thru property putting out in granular form,” said Prather, “this puts it out as a liquid, into the backyards.”

“Hopefully Zika does not become locally transmitted here but we’re prepared if it does,” said Prather, “I hope that we never have to deploy this unit.”

So far this year, Dallas County Health and Human Services has reported four imported cases of Zika virus.

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