West Nile Virus May Not Surge with Floods

It's time to ramp up West Nile virus mosquito prevention measures, according to Dallas County Health Director Zachary Thompson, even though large numbers of mosquitoes may not bring greater amounts of disease.

After extreme May rain and widespread flooding, Thompson said standing water left behind is ideal for mosquito breeding.

Mosquito dunks are available for standing water that can't be eliminated and Thompson urged residents to use mosquito repellent to avoid bites.

"So we're asking Dallas County residents to eliminate the standing water around their homes.

That's critical," Thompson said. "But, definitely, high numbers of mosquitoes don't translate into high numbers of virus."

Residents have noticed the extra bugs.

"Yes, and I'm very concerned about West Nile right now, especially with all the rain," said Irving resident Cheryl Goff.

Out for a lunchtime walk Tuesday, Irving office worker Larry Lederle said he expects a serious West Nile outbreak.

"We didn't have all this water last year and there were still cases of the West Nile, so we can only imagine it's going to be worse this year with all the rain," he said.

But Thompson said the opposite has been true in past years.

"In 2012 we had low number of mosquitoes, high virus. In other years we've had high abundance of mosquitoes and low virus," he said.

Thompson hopes this summer will also be a mild season for West Nile virus.

"One thing we do know is there's going to be an increasing number of mosquitoes. But we only have five positive mosquitoes to date," Thompson said.

Three of the five mosquito traps testing positive as of Tuesday are in the 75050 zip code of Grand Prairie, while one each is in DeSoto 75115 and Mesquite 75149.

No human cases have been reported so far in Dallas County.

Prevention is still important to combat the large number of mosquitoes for comfort and in case past history is not an accurate predictor of West Nile virus behavior.

"This will be able to show us this year," Thompson said.

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