West Nile Virus Outbreak Forces Some Cities to Take Drastic Measures
It's war in Texas!
The city of Dallas has launched an all out aerial assault against a deadly enemy - the mosquito.
Just after dark on Thursday, two twin engine planes took off from a small airfield outside the city.
The planes flew low over the city's parks and leafy suburbs, spraying a fine mist of insecticide, all in a desperate attempt to halt the spread of West Nile virus that has already claimed the lives of 10 people. The take-off was even broadcast live on TV.
This summer's record heat and drought has sparked an explosion in the mosquito population across the country and the insects are spreading the West Nile virus like wildfire. It is the worst outbreak in eight years, but nowhere has been hit harder than Dallas. A quarter of the nation's West Nile Virus cases are in and around Dallas.
Melanie Meister's father, Ronnie, a tough as nails construction worker has been devastated by the disease.
"I been in the hospital three weeks, today, and I can't walk," he said.
Melanie said, "I honestly thought he was going to die. He wasn't talking he wasn't eating."
The city has tried everything to combat the mosquitoes and aerial spraying is the last resort.
The insecticide, called "Duet," is not harmful to humans but kills bees, ladybugs and fish. But Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the man who ordered the aerial spraying, said he had no choice.
"This is a essential, this is a public health emergency. We have to act to save human life," said Judge Jenkins.
INSIDE EDITION's camera crew drove around the city just before dark and found it to be a ghost town. Most residents were taking no chances and staying indoors.
However, customers at a bar in downtown Dallas actually stood outside and cheered the planes as they flew overhead, clearly relieved that their long summer nightmare may soon be over.