Texoma towns prepare for West Nile Virus

GRAYSON & FANNIN COUNTY, TX -- As the temperature rises so does concern over the West Nile Virus. After cases sprung up earlier than normal last year this season Texoma cities and health officials are making sure they are better prepared.

Last year the West Nile Virus bit southern states hard. According to the Centers for Disease Control, out of more than 5,000 cases reported 80 percent came from 13 states including Texas and Oklahoma. This year area officials are working to get the upper hand.

The Grayson County Health Department is taking a proactive approach to battling West Nile after last year's outbreak.

"With human cases in May in certain parts of Texas and significant numbers of illness in June, which just means the disease occurred earlier in birds. way before anybody would have anticipated," John Teel said.

John Teel, Director of the Grayson County Health Department, says they do not want to be taken by surprise again. Teel says in recent weeks they have created a packet of information they plan to deliver to every city in the county by the end of the month.

"We want them to know, how do you order stuff? How do you order larvicide? And if you want to buy your own mosquito traps from where do you buy them? And how much do they cost," Teel asked.

He says the packet will also include information on private companies that spray for mosquitoes.

Bonham was one Texoma town that sprayed last year.

"We thought that we needed to protect our citizens and that was just a way. It's certainly not 100 percent, but it is a way to do something," Mayor Roy Floyd said.

Mayor Roy Floyd says the city already has a plan to battle the disease.
He says they are stocked up on pellets to kill larvae in standing water and they are prepared to spray again if they need to.

"It's expensive, but it's not prohibitive. It's something that we feel like we have to do. We have the money there in case we need it for that," Floyd said.

Teel says it is not too early for you to be proactive too.

"Lets consider all mosquitoes potentially bad. Just as we preached last year, don't get bitten which means use insect repellant that contains DEET. Use long sleeve clothing," Teel said.

He says you can also help spot early signs of West Nile by reporting heaving mosquito activity and dead birds.

"We would like a quick phone call just to say this is who I am, this is my home address and I found three birds and we'd like them to describe the birds," Teel said.

For bonham residents, Mayor Floyd says to contact the city if you see standing water with mosquito larvae.

Teel says the Health Department will begin trapping and testing mosquitoes for West Nile in late April or early May.


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