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Williamson County, Like Texas, Having Unusually Bad Year For West Nile

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT

In just the past two months Williamson County has logged six West Nile cases.  That’s more cases than the county reported in the previous ten years.  And now one of those cases has resulted in a fatality. 

A woman in her 90’s reportedly succumbed to the disease.  This latest escalation adds to what has become a summer of unease in Texas.

Williamson County resident Victor DeLuna brings his young son to a Williamson County splash pad every evening as the sun starts to go down.  That’s when mosquitoes are traditionally out, but DeLuna says they don’t bite him much.

Even though the pests don’t usually disturb him, news of a West Nile death in the county does bother DeLuna; who says maybe it’s time to start spraying for the insects here like they do in parts of Travis County, “It’s a good idea”.

But in Williamson County, where spraying hasn’t historically been done, the idea hasn’t even been officially discussed.  Even if leaders did decide to spray, they would start from scratch.  Unlike other areas that have routinely fumigated, Williamson County doesn’t have equipment or a budget for that kind of vector control.

By contrast, Dallas has set aside a million dollars for an aerial assault that could start any time now.  There have been ten West Nile deaths there, so the debate to spray or not to spray is pretty much over says one North Texas resident, “Its killing people. You don't need to know any more. Why make it complicated."

But it has been complicated in every place that’s under siege of West Nile mosquitoes, including Austin; where experts are carefully watching to make sure they don’t unleash a potion that’s worse than the ailment. 

By Jason Wheeler.Williamson County, Like Texas, Having Unusually Bad Year For West Nile


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