NEWS HEADLINES

City not joining West Nile Virus program

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, April 20, 2013

Next month marks the beginning of West Nile season.

After suffering through an unprecedented number of West Nile Virus cases in the Dallas-Fort Worth region last year, Tarrant County is attempting to expand its surveillance and response plan.

Since a small portion of Newark is in Tarrant County, it was one of the cities asked to take part in an interlocal agreement and join the program. But due to the city’s small staff, the city council voted 4-0 against it Thursday night.

“We don’t have enough personnel to do it,” said city secretary Diane Rasor. “To take part you must have employees out at certain times of the day just to capture mosquitoes.”

Even though Newark is not participating in the program, the city can still benefit from it thanks to nearby larger municipalities taking part in identifying and responding to West Nile Virus carrying mosquitoes.

Nationwide, 2012 had more reported human cases of West Nile than any year since 2003, with 33 percent of those occurring in Texas.

Ninety-two percent of the cases reported in Texas last year were in north Texas, including more than 750 in the D/FW area. And Texas reported more cases by far than any other state.

Last year most of the confirmed cases occurred from May to October, peaking in August and October.

Even with so many cases last year, it’s hard to predict when and where the mosquito-borne will strike hardest this year.

West Nile Virus is “disturbingly unpredictable, disagreeable and difficult to control” the Centers for Disease Control reported last September.

In 2013, it is predicted the season will peak between July and October.

CITY NOTES

  • The council voted to cancel the upcoming May election due to only one candidate running for council. There are two seats open for election.
  • Council approved hiring Ronnie Sellers to work in public works. Sellers worked for the city years ago but left in 2004 to pursue a job in the oilfield.
  • With Laura Pixler stepping down, the council had to appoint a new member to serve as liaison to the library board. The council voted to have all four members each serve quarterly on the board over the next year.

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