Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings on Wednesday declared the city’s recent West Nile virus outbreak to be a state of emergency and authorized the first aerial spraying of insecticide in the city in nearly 40 years.
Dallas and other North Texas cities have agreed to the rare use of aerial spraying from planes to combat the nation’s worst outbreak of West Nile virus so far this year. Dallas last had aerial spraying in 1966, when more than a dozen deaths were blamed on encephalitis.
More than 200 cases of West Nile and 10 deaths linked to the virus have been reported across Dallas County, where officials authorized aerial spraying last week. State health department statistics show 381 cases and 16 deaths related to West Nile statewide.