The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

West Nile virus infects Texas, nearly 800 cases

This summer, residents of Dallas and the surrounding area have been concerned about the rise in West Nile virus.

Additionally, they are concerned about the pesticide being sprayed to prevent the virus.

The Texas Department of State Health reports 783 human cases of West Nile virus as of Aug. 27. Thirty-one people have died as a result of this fast-spreading virus.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes and, this year, scientists have seen a drastic increase in cases. Richard Knox of National Public Radio said this swell may be caused by a mild winter and early summer.

According to Knox, the mild winter and early summer may have contributed to the influx of mosquitoes. In addition to their faster reproduction, the warmer weather “amplifies the amount of virus that are in mosquitoes.”

The Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) Office of Public Information issued a statement regarding the ground sprayings stating, “(We are) committed to the safety and protection of all (our) citizens,” and asked that citizens take precautions to protect themselves.

Guilford has a number of Texan students who have experienced this epidemic firsthand.

Sophomore Nick Huckins witnessed two friends contract the virus last summer.

Sophomore Bailey Crego said, “It is very concerning to see how many people have West Nile that live in neighborhoods right next to me.”

Senior Summer Frazier also shared a concern for her family, as they spend a lot of time outdoors.

In response to a growing death toll and infection rate, Dallas officials decided to initiate aerial spraying of the pesticide entitled “Duet.”

The DCHHS sprayed areas twice on Aug. 16 before officials returned to ground spraying methods that use a different pesticide a few days later.

The aerial spraying produced a negative response from many citizens. The New York Times reports that more than 1,700 people signed a petition to stop the spraying, but a product report from the Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project stated that the substance poses only a mild threat. Some of the spray’s effects may cause a “burning or prickling sensation on more sensitive areas,” such as the face, eyes and mouth, but no chronic effects are reported.

Regarding the pesticides, the DCHHS and Mayor of Dallas have decided that the pesticide’s benefits outweigh its possibly detrimental effects.

Like so many citizens, our students from Texas have differing opinions on the issue of the pesticide use. Crego said that she does not like the thought of spraying pesticides, while Huckins and Frazier both support it.

“I would hear the truck drive by my house at night … spraying for mosquitoes,” said Frazier.

Frazier thinks it is “appropriate to keep spraying because the mosquitoes can be overwhelming sometimes.”

Huckins said simply: “If it saves five or ten (people)… it’s worth it.”

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About the Contributor
Allison DeBusk, Editor-in-Chief
English and Political Science majors,  American History minor
Allison loves coordinating all of the different parts of the newspaper and getting to see the words, photos, graphics and videos all combine to make one product. She also loves serving the Guilford community and reflecting the feelings and perspectives of our community. She always wears pink on Wednesdays.

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