Aerial spraying to begin following West Nile virus death in Montgomery County

HOUSTON -- Before the end of the week Montgomery County will be taking the fight against the West Nile virus to the air.

Officials hope that aerial spraying for mosquitoes will get off the ground before the end of the week.

Precinct Three in Montgomery County has been testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus since spring, and spraying since the first positive tests back in June.

So far, this season the mosquitoes are winning the war.

"I thought I was going out. Then there were times when I was afraid I wasn't going to. That stuff is something else," said Chuck Moore who lives near The Woodlands.

Moore is one of the eight victims suffering from West Nile virus in Montgomery County this year.

One man in his 80s died with West Nile a contributing factor in his death.

"If you do the math it does not look good. Which is why we had the discussions with the commissioners this morning, that now is the time to do this," said Dr. Marc Escott, the head of the Montgomery County Health Department.

The only other time that aerial spraying has been used in Montgomery County is in the weeks after Hurricane Ike in 2008. This is the first time that the county has taken on the cost of the program, which could be as much as a half million dollars.

"We have seen more than twice the rate of West Nile infections as we did in our last peek, which was 2012. That was 17 total cases and three deaths," Dr. Escott said, adding that the majority of those were in September.

The hope is that aerial spraying targeted to the hardest hit area could even stop the virus in its tracks.

"Let's get these things dead," Moore said. He said he is still feeling the effects of the West Nile virus which nearly killed him in July.

To him the cost of the program doesn't matter a bit.

"How much is a human life worth?" Moore wondered.

The county is hoping to get a contract finalized quickly so that spraying in the southern county area, that is being hit hardest, can begin quickly.

There is no set timetable, but officials are hoping the plane can be in the air before the week is out.


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