NewsLab

Counties Resort To Aerial Spraying To Combat West Nile Virus

Montgomery leads all Texas counties in West Nile virus cases this year.


The map shows Texas Counties with West Nile. From the Texas Department of State Health Services Website

 

Thirteen people have contracted the West Nile virus in Montgomery County so far this year.

That’s five more than Harris County, the next highest on the list, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Montgomery also accounts for the state’s only death from the virus in 2014.

To combat the public health threat, the Commissioners Court there held an emergency session last week. They decided to spray pesticides from the air in areas with the most human cases.

Harris County did aerial sprayings earlier this month.

“The aerial spray had a great success, had a great impact,” said Dr. Mustapha Debboun, director of the mosquito control division of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services. “Because the two nights that we sprayed, the average kill was over 85 percent.”

Even with the sprayings, the numbers are still up. Debboun said his department so far has found more than 1,100 traps with mosquitoes that carried the West Nile virus.

That’s substantially more than in the entire year of 2012, a record year for the virus in Texas. But that year, Harris County had 101 human cases.

Debboun says you cannot predict nature.

“Every year is different,” he said, “and it’s all because of a lot of factors in nature, people being exposed or not exposed…”

Harris County is on track to exceed human West Nile cases from last year when it had nine cases for the whole year.

Montgomery had three cases last year and 17 in 2012.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required

Share

Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

More Information