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City Council Approves Possible Aerial Spraying

WNV Mosquito Data Presented at Meeting

At the July 26 meeting, the Coppell City Council voted unanimously to approve aerial spraying as a potential tool for the city to use in an effort to combat the mosquito population.

VIDEO: Watch Coppell’s Environmental Health Officer, Luay Rahil, present the Vector Control Program Annual Update

The request to consider aerial spraying is part of an area-wide effort spearheaded by Dallas County Health and Human Services to help reduce the mosquito population, especially mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus (WNV). Similar to the WNV epidemic North Texas cities faced in 2012, the volume of mosquitoes and rate of infection have officials concerned and preparing to take preventative action if necessary. Other cities surrounding Coppell are also considering aerial spraying and a final decision will be made in early August.

Coppell has six WNV traps and one Zika trap that are tested each week. WNV positive mosquito samples have been found in traps five weeks in a row (beginning June 24th) at various testing sites with a 46% positive testing rate. Mosquitoes are abundant this year, and so far this season Coppell officials have collected 22 traps containing over 100 mosquitoes in each trap. In addition to a high volume of mosquitoes, as of July 26th 14 traps have contained mosquitoes that tested positive for WNV. So far this year, no human cases of WNV have been reported in Coppell.

Dallas County first brought up the option of aerial spraying during a conference call with area cities on July 7th due to the higher than normal and early evidence of WNV infection in mosquitoes. According to Dallas County officials, the persistent WNV and relatively high proportion of positive traps shows that ground spraying alone may not be enough to bring down the WNV-positive mosquitoes present in Coppell. These trends make aerial spraying a reasonable option to consider in order to achieve better coverage that ground spraying cannot provide.

The product Dallas County would use for aerial spraying is called Dibrom, which has been registered and approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since 1959. The insecticide is specific to mosquitoes and does not have an adverse effect on non-target species; however, as a precautionary measure residents are encouraged to take the appropriate steps to protect themselves and pets from direct contact with the aerial spray. 

2012 WNV Epidemic
In 2012 the Texas Department of State Health Services and Dallas County declared a public health emergency regarding WNV. Subsequently, the City of Coppell authorized Dallas County to use aerial spraying to combat WNV. Aerial spraying occurred on August 18, 2012, and after the applications were complete, no other mosquito samples tested positive for WNV for the remainder of the season. Total, five human cases of WNV were diagnosed in Coppell that year.