Dallas County's Aerial Spraying for West Nile not as Deadly to Mosquitoes as First Claimed

Categories: Schutze

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Don't scramble the county air force just yet. We need to do some serious reading and talking before the Dallas County does a repeat of last year's aerial spraying for West Nile disease.

I have a copy of the final Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on last year's spraying. Sorry, can't say how I got it. Bases to cover, you know.

Maybe you remember the CDC's initial report at the end of last August claiming that the pesticide bombing of large portions of the county had reduced the population of bad mosquitoes by 93 percent. Well, they've taken a closer look.

The bad mosquito population did not go down by 93 percent after the spraying. It went up.

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The CDC now reports "small but statistically significant increases in mosquito abundance" in one of three aerial spray areas. In the other two, according to the new report, there was "a similar small increase in mosquito abundance, but the difference was not significant."

Well, that depends on what you call significant. A non-scientist whose house got sprayed, I would call any increase at all pretty damned significant after you told me last year that the spraying caused a 93 percent decrease.

The report does find a positive effect on human infection rates. It says aerial spraying had "a measurable impact" on infection rates for the more serious "neuroinvasive" form of the disease -- the kind that paralyzes people.

When I read this report, the differences between infection rates in sprayed areas and nonsprayed area seems modest; the report doesn't seem to do a good job of sorting out the effect ground spraying may have had; and it hedges on all of it by calling for more research.

Then again -- and allow me to say this loud and clear -- I am not the right guy to read this report and draw grand conclusions on its finer points. This week I will be talking to people who actually do know that they're talking about for my column in next week's newspaper.

If and when your elected officials allow you to see it, you read it. See if you can make head or tails.

But before I sign off, I do want to remind us of what I think is the overarching point in terms of what we little people here on the ground were told last year. Right after the spraying was done, when the commercial spray company and the county officials who paid them were all over the news, the claim was a 93 percent kill rate.

Now that we have a more serious study, the debate needs to be whether aerial spraying is actually somehow helping the little devils multiply.

Buh-buh-buh-buh-BIIIIIIIIG difference, scout.

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21 comments
sully972
sully972

“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species -- man -- acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world.”

Rachael Carson 65’

P.S. How long can you hold your breath. Its part of the Bill Gates "Population Control Program"

sully972
sully972

say goodbye to the birds...

merrilyg
merrilyg

Yes, mosquitos - more of them or less of them - is the obvious issue here, but a more subtle and menacing one would be how they came up with 93% death rate that was widely publicized versus the nearly opposite rate that wasn't. As usual, I affirm that the government isn't protecting us, they are protecting big business via lobbyist that then float political votes and agendas. This is ugly.

WordSmooth
WordSmooth

Thank you, Jim Schutze, for staying on top of the mosquito spraying issue. No more poisons sprayed from the air!

NOakCliff
NOakCliff

I heard the spray plane fly over my house on both occasions, but could easily tell while watering plants the next days that mosquitos were just as plentiful as before. If nothing else, all we'll end up with are spray-resistant mosquitos after they've bred a few generations. The smart solution isn't the killing of mosquitos that already exist , it's preventing them from multiplying in the first place. And, hopefully, without a lot of expensive, nasty, artificial chemicals.

CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

I live out in BFE north of Dallas and my city decided on spraying. Know what? The damn skeeters MULTIPLIED after aerial spraying! Even with a large pond on our property (And not one of those 'just-for-looks' ponds. It's full of fish, turtles, ducks, frogs, snakes, etc.), we rarely had a problem with the mosquitoes.... Until they sprayed. Damn things were everywhere.

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Bad info from the government???  say it ain't so.

There's lies, damn lies, statistics, and government statistics.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

They sprayed at the end of the natural season for the mosquito population.  By the time the spraying was done the mosquito population should have been in decline through natural cycles.  Are you telling us they actually extended the mosquito season AND increased the population?

Did they not follow the directions on the skeeter goop?

schermbeck
schermbeck

Last year the County acted out of panic. It doesn't have that excuse this year and I hope it takes the time to realize that aerial may not be the best strategy to deal with West Nile.

VirusBoy
VirusBoy

"We need to do some serious reading and talking before the Dallas County does a repeat..."

Won't happen for every reason they sprayed in the first place. CYA. I die of West Nile. My family sues City of Dallas.  Mary Suhm has to go to depositions and asked, "What actions did the City take to solve the crisis?" A: Nothing.   OOPS! WRONG ANSWER.

animas
animas

Bat Houses are the organic answer.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

You gotta have more bugs if you're gonna spend more to kill em.

NOakCliff
NOakCliff

Spraying in the city probably drove them out to your area, where they vacationed over night, then drifted back into town.

NOakCliff
NOakCliff

If we can sue the city because we get sick then let's just open the litigation floodgates.

"My grandma rode a DART bus, touched a railing getting on, caught the flu, and died of pneumonia. Hey, Dallas, where's my settlement for killing my grandma with one of your dirty busses?"

That's just an example, not an actual quote or situation.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

@animas 

My people believe that a bat house in the tree and a crocheted dream-catcher hanging in your front window will protect a house from Republicans.

joearpaio
joearpaio

@JimSX @animas Statistically Repubs sport more big hair than normal people so you can see why that strategy works.  You know, bats caught in your hair and all of that nonsense.

mcdallas
mcdallas

@JimSX @animas No.  That is patently false. The only way the bat house and dream catcher works is if you have the aluminum hat ON.  

animas
animas

Would that be a northern mid-western form of feng-shui?

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