Friday, August 17, 2012

Dallas in state of emergency after West Nile virus

BBC: The city of Dallas in the US state of Texas has declared a state of emergency as it struggles to contain an outbreak of mosquito-borne West Nile virus. At least 14 people have died after contracting the virus in the state so far this year.

Almost 700 cases have been reported across the country - the highest number since 2004. Texas residents have been urged to use insect repellent and avoid going out at dusk and dawn.

"The city of Dallas is experiencing a widespread outbreak of mosquito-borne West Nile virus that has caused and appears likely to continue to cause widespread and severe illness and loss of life," Michael Rawlings said.

The move clears the way for aerial spraying to kill infected mosquitoes that transmit the disease. Aerial spraying is also being used elsewhere, including in New York City - where the virus was discovered on Staten Island last month - and Sacramento, California.

There have been cases of infection reported in people, birds or mosquitoes in 42 US states, with 80% of the cases in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. In Texas, the worst-affected state, residents have been urged to get rid of stagnant water, where the insect can breed, and to wear protective clothing....

West Nile Virus electronmicrograph from the National Institutes of Health

No comments: