People are flooding the drug stores in search of insect repelent and citronella candles as the number of West Nile Virus cases skyrocket to record numbers.

With the numbers of positive WNV cases soaring into the thousands across the country, it is time to call for new plans to annihilate the virus. Some counties have already taken on the inevitable while others are lacking in the fight.

As of Aug. 28, the state of Texas reported 733 cases of WNV to the Centers of Disease Control.  Among the cases, 30 resulted in deaths due to the virus. In Tarrant County alone 218 cases have been confirmed and five of them resulted in death.

According to the CDC website, the WNV is a potentially serious illness. Experts believe WNV is established as a seasonal epidemic in North America that flares up in the summer and continues in the fall.

These numbers astonish me not only as a mother but also as a concerned citizen. If you look at the numbers from a mathematical perspective, the ratio of death to case is lower than 4 percent; roughly 1 out of 24 people have contracted the virus. These numbers may not sound too bad but when you take into consideration last year’s numbers, the threat becomes a reality.

In 2011, only 712 cases were reported in the United States and 43 resulted in death.

The reason why these numbers are so mind boggling to me is because the summer months have just come to an end, and we still have to fight the battle through the fall.

Finally, when the temperature starts to become bearable, our children cannot play outside without covering them with mosquito repellent.

I beg to ask the question: What is Tarrant County doing to minimize the threat.

On Aug. 17, Tarrant County officials finally decided to launch a ground attack to terminate the virus by spraying pesticides in the 76104 and 76110 zip codes of Fort Worth. At the date of print aerial spraying was off the table.

This is great, but then I wonder about the consequences of these actions, will it contaminate the flora and fauna around the area or not, these questions prod my mind every evening when my 8-year-old asks to go outside.

Which is the greater threat the mosquitoes or the pesticides flying through the air, neither of them suit me very well.

-Rachel Peel

rlpeel@txwes.edu

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