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West Nile Virus Outbreak Puts Dallas In State of Emergency 167

Posted by timothy
from the those-mosquitoes-are-obviously-lost dept.
Penurious Penguin writes with news from the BBC that 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," and writes that the city "has declared a state of emergency. West Nile virus can be asymptomatic or produce multiple symptoms, but can also lead to fevers, and the potentially fatal meningitis or encephalitis. Birds are the most common carriers and mosquitoes are the vector for human infection."
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West Nile Virus Outbreak Puts Dallas In State of Emergency

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  • Buy DEET (Score:5, Informative)

    by arcite (661011) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:28AM (#41008949)
    Buy DEET, 50-90% concentration, apply liberally. The higher concentration stuff is rather strong, but you can spray it on your clothes (ie. Socks, shoes, sleeves).
    • Re:Buy DEET (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:34AM (#41008993) Homepage Journal

      >> you can spray it on your clothes

      Not synthetics, however, which tend to degrade from DEET.

      • nylon (Score:5, Funny)

        by nten (709128) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:54AM (#41009219)

        Nylon is fine, but it will destroy other stuff. Permethrin should only be sprayed on clothes, but it does a good job too, actually kills the things.

          I think we should bring back DDT worldwide, they have lost some of their developed immunities by now. Once they start developing immunities we can start with the organochlorides, then the organophosphates, then the pyrethrins, and by then they should be vulnerable to DDT again. Sure, we won't have any birds or flowering plants, but we can get by on wind pollinated crops. Probably need to devote some extra money to cancer research too.

        • Re:nylon (Score:5, Funny)

          by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:40AM (#41009789)

          Honey bees are not native to the US, so no big deal. Native REAL AMERICAN flowering plants will do just fine. It's those illegal immigrant flowering plants that will disappear.

        • Re:nylon (Score:5, Insightful)

          by budgenator (254554) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:11AM (#41010401) Journal

          There is nothing wrong with DDT, you just have to use per the label instructions i.e. indoors; it does bio-accumulate in fish and does nasty things to birds that eat fish, which is why it's not used outdoors. In mammals like Humans, its very safe, used to be used for delousing people and the Sales-driods used to eat it by the teaspoon to demonstrate it's safety. This does mean that DDT is not a good fit for mosquito control in countries where window screens are wide spread; it's great for bedbugs. Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis works on mosquitos outdoors.

          • Re:nylon (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @03:29PM (#41016213)

            There is nothing wrong with DDT, you just have to use per the label instructions i.e. indoors; it does bio-accumulate in fish and does nasty things to birds that eat fish, which is why it's not used outdoors.

            Yours is the best comment ever made on Slashdot - ever. Nothing wrong with it, then a partial list of what's wrong with it.

            You win one internet.

            The problem is, You say there's nothing wrong with it. I know others that say there's nothing wrong with it at all, and fully intend to use it outdoors if it were legal again. I also know others who acknowledge that it is bad for avian wildlife but do not care. They will use it for whatever they damn well please if they get their hands on it. They won't follow the instructions. And that sir, is the reason it is illegal. Nothing wrong with PCB's either by your logic. I mean it's hell on guinea pigs, and just gives people a little acne. But nothing wrong with it.

        • by gman003 (1693318)

          You know what else works really well on mosquitoes?

          Napalm.

          Of course, I shudder to think of what would happen should they develop an immunity to that...

    • by Ollabelle (980205)
      Lower concentrations work fine too. http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/toolkit/DEET.pdf [cdc.gov]. It wears off sooner, but if you're not going out for hours at a time, no big deal.
    • by sjames (1099)

      Eat less sugar and more hot peppers.

      Neem oil (available in convenient pump spray) also helps.

      • by pspahn (1175617)

        This.

        Also, maybe 15 years ago or so I was up in Wyoming on a fishing trip. We were near the Medicine Bow river on a private stretch one evening and the mosquitoes were the worst I have ever seen.

        The following day, we stopped in a tiny little tackle shop with one old guy working the counter.

        "Have any mosquito repellant?" we asked

        "I dun use that sheet. Whatchu need is some pure vaniller extract. It's in aisle two."

        The old guy was right. It worked quite well, but I suspect it worked well because it coated

    • DDT it is good for you and it is good for me!

  • by bengoerz (581218) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @07:46AM (#41009131)
    I live in Dallas. People are not dying in the streets. We are not living out Monty Python's "Bring Out Your Dead" sketch.

    The "emergency" was declared primarily so we could gain access to 5 pesticide-spraying planes from the Texas Department of Emergency Management [dallasobserver.com].
    • We are not living out Monty Python's "Bring Out Your Dead" sketch.

      Dallas is more of a crunchy frog town.

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      Sorry for the wishful thinking...

    • by The Raven (30575)

      Are there no pesticide spraying planes NOT owned by the Emergency Management department? I can't imagine that it is that complicated or expensive to hire crop dusters.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:36AM (#41010839)

        There are hundreds of spray planes here in Texas, privately owned, all sitting idle and their owners/pilots are dying for work right now due to the nationwide drought that has killed off most of the farm crops this year and eliminated this season's work for the pilots. One of my best friends owns and flies an Air Tractor and the past two years he's only gotten about half the spraying contracts he normally gets so he's desperate for work so he doesn't have to sell the plane. He's looking into the mosquito spraying contracts, but the state is making it so difficult to get the extra licenses needed for spraying mosquitoes that it seems like they're deliberately protecting someone's monopoly or something.

    • 'ang on, 'e says e's not dead yet!
    • The "emergency" was declared primarily so we could gain access to 5 pesticide-spraying planes from the Texas Department of Emergency Management.

      .
      .
      .
      .
      CHEMTRAILS!!

      We'll right back, with more Art Bell.

  • Here in Maine, the Mosquito's will drain your blood long before the West Nile Virus can do any damage. It's been an unusually humid, and wet summer.
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      But, to offset that, you can track the (not so) little bastards by radar.

    • by Amouth (879122)

      Should visit the outer banks in NC, they can kill the deer there.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      Here in Maine, the Mosquito's will drain your blood long before the West Nile Virus can do any damage. It's been an unusually humid, and wet summer.

      I'm sure its bad up there, but can't imagine it would hold a candle next to the mosquitos down here in the New Orleans area.....

      I mean, after all...the mosquito is our state bird you know....

      :)

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Here in Maine, the Mosquito's will drain your blood long before the West Nile Virus can do any damage. It's been an unusually humid, and wet summer.

      Pft. You've never been to Canada I take it. Here in Canada, black flies are the size of small dogs, and will carry of small children to use for their meals. And mosquito's are about half as big. If you get up near Algonquin National Park, sometimes you can hear the screams of deer, and moose. That's the sound of the mosquito's sucking them dry in one go.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:08AM (#41009377) Homepage Journal
    Won't someone think about the poor endangered malaria mosquito? This majestic creature used to roam the plains in the billions, but thanks to eradication efforts and habitat encroachments in now roams the plains in slightly fewer billions! You know what the problem is? It's fair weather environmentalists! Oh sure, it's easy to get behind an endangered animal when it's cute and fuzzy! But they're nowhere to be found when it has six legs, sucks human blood and helps spread a deadly disease! I suppose if another spraying program is enacted, they won't be down at city hall protesting! Won't someone think of the mosquitoes?!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:19AM (#41009531)

    What crack have the Dallas County Commissioners been smoking that John Whiley Price [wikipedia.org] has been dealing around the County Courthouse? We've had West Nile outbreaks every year since 2002ish (as I recall) and the city used ground spray trucks previously. We've had approximateley 100 people every year contract the issue and about 20 die from it. I agree with the above comment that the emergency is manufactured, but I suspect it's so that the county can get access to cheaper to purchase pesticides that have a higher chance of side effects.

    Those that get infected are already on the watch list for diseases (Young, Old, Immune system compromised). It's quite simple how to avoid it

    1. Don't go outside at dawn/dusk
    2. Drain standing water pools
    3. Wear a decent bug spray.
    4. Wear clothing over most parts of your body if you must go outside for extended periods of time

    Needless to say that the night when they overfly my neighborhood I'm going to shut all my windows/doors and not think about what's happening outside.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @11:02AM (#41012197)

      Needless to say that the night when they overfly my neighborhood I'm going to shut all my windows/doors and not think about what's happening outside.

      I live in a swamp and they sometimes do the aerial spraying combined with trucks that drive around spraying. Honestly I think it does more harm than good. It does kill the mosquitoes for a short time but then they bounce back with a vengeance.

      The main problem we have seen is that the spraying kills almost all the predators of the mosquitoes. Dragonflies, toads, tree frogs, praying mantis, etc. all get killed by the spray either directly or their eggs are killed (plus it kills honey bees). Then the following years all that's left is the mosquitoes and they are much worse. It's a vicious cycle.

      For the last few years they have stopped spraying and now there are more predators than I have ever seen in 30+ years. There are mosquitoes but they're more or less kept in check by the predators. It's a lot more consistent situation compared to when they spray.

    • by Drethon (1445051)
      I think I had West Nile during one of the outbreaks in the midwest during the late 90s or so. Had a night with the worst headache I've ever had in my life and the next morning I was fine. Could have been something else but with any luck I'm now immune to West Nile...
    • What crack have the Dallas County Commissioners been smoking that John Whiley Price [wikipedia.org]

      Wow, that article came across as being written by the John Birch Society.

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @08:34AM (#41009717) Homepage Journal

    This is a bunch of fearmongering BS. There were dire warnings on national news this morning, too.

    So what is the extent of the "widespread outbreak" that is causing all the disease, mayhem and death that "appears likely to continue to cause widespread and severe illness and loss of life"?

    Almost 700 cases have been reported across the country

    WOW! Almost 700 cases across the country! Just this year! They don't actually say how many in Texas, or Dallas. Does that mean 700 deaths? No. 700 serious illnesses? No. 700 people, though, right? No.

    There have been cases of infection reported in people, birds or mosquitoes

    Ah. This is cause for a panic and a state of emergency? What for?

    The move clears the way for aerial spraying to kill infected mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

    Ah - there we go. Hmmm. "Don't worry about the stuff being sprayed out of those planes, citizen. It's for your protection!"

    • > stuff being sprayed out of those planes

      hypnogas used to get people to take off the tinfoil hats.

      Watch out next will be the mind ray broadcasters installed in the smart meters.

      • I guess you don't remember what they used to use for mosquitoes: DDT. Check it out - it was safe for humans, but didn't turn out so well for the fish and birds.

        But, you know, you should trust whatever it is they are spraying these days. I'm sure it's perfectly safe. Anyone that questions it is bound to be a conspiracy nut. Right?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      ". This is cause for a panic and a state of emergency? What for?"
      what you, and others on Slashdot don't seem to have any grasp on is that this is an indicator. Left unattended and it will be tens of thousands of people. Why can't you people grasp the idea of cutting it short?

      Also coming to the US is Dengay fever.
      Another thing we should stop short.

      "Ah - there we go."
      Ah, you're a loon.

      • ""Ah - there we go.""
        "Ah, you're a loon."

        Actually, he has a point.

        Aerial spraying, while better targeted today than ever before does have a high rate of collateral damage and the pesticide being used now includes chemicals which are designed to cause "benign excitation" to ensure "wider delivery".

        Reps for the company did not state what that compound was, nor how it would affect species outside the target scope.

        All of this for 7 confirmed deaths and 200+ suspected cases in the affected area. Malaria affect

  • I live in an area that has had West Nile since 2002. We are constantly finding dead crows. Even though we have been severely inflicted and were one of the first in Canada to have it, we still only have a handful of cases and only two of those were fatal. There was one old man that died in 2002 and then a second, old lady that died in 2011. That's it for the whole region. About 20% of the people exposed to West Nile virus develop "West Nile fever". West Nile fever's symptoms include headache, body
  • Dengay is coming to the US as well. But ignorant dipshit want to stop an effective way of limiting.

    http://www.pusware.com/quackcast/quackcast97.mp3 [pusware.com]

    • by omnichad (1198475)

      Don't you mean Dengue? Don't make fun of ignorance if you're going to get the name wrong.

  • by Datamonstar (845886) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @09:14AM (#41010435)
    It's not that bad. the disease is mostly affecting people with weakened immune systems, the really young and the really old. This is not too different than the flu in that regard, except it's much more difficult to control the spread of it and it has some really nasty side effects if it goes untreated.

    That said, I think treating it like a dire emergency is not the right way to go. I really don't want me or my children breathing in any chemicals unnecessarily. If any of us get sick from the virus, we'll go to our doctors that we trust or a emergency room. With all the pollution we already have on top of allergens, I really don't want to know what adding those chemicals to the mix will do, but there's a chance that it may be even less treatable than the disease.
    • by omnichad (1198475)

      "State of Emergency" is poorly named, but that's what it's called. It's not an emergency, it's a state of readiness.

    • by bws111 (1216812)

      "State of emergency" mostly means that un-budgeted funds are available to help with the problem. It doesn't have anything to do with "direness" or drastic actions.

  • It's no state of emergency here, but the city is set to start aerial spraying.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.

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