World Bulletin / News Desk
The mayor of Dallas declared a state of emergency in the ninth largest U.S. city on Wednesday to combat the spread of West Nile virus infections, which have been more prevalent than usual in Texas and other states this year.
There have been more cases of West Nile virus reported so far this year than any year since the disease was first detected in the United States in 1999, the Centers for Disease Control said on its website.
Nearly half of the 693 human cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus infections reported this year to the CDC have been in Texas, along with 14 of the 26 deaths confirmed by the federal agency as of Tuesday.
The Texas health department said the number of cases of West Nile in the state had reached 465 and there had been 17 deaths. There is a lag in the CDC confirming cases and deaths.
The emergency declaration by Mayor Mike Rawlings followed a similar action last week by Dallas County officials and paves the way for aerial pesticide spraying to begin this week.
Aerial spraying also is being used elsewhere, including in neighborhoods in New York City and Sacramento, California, to combat the spread of West Nile virus. Officials say such spraying is the most effective way to fight the mosquitoes that carry the disease despite safety concerns about exposing people to chemical pesticides.
"We are on track to have the worst year ever for West Nile virus in Texas," said Christine Mann, a spokeswoman for the Texas health department, adding that the number of cases was triple the previous high year of 2003.
It is not clear why the number of West Nile cases in Texas is so high. It could be related to a warmer winter and rainy spring that has contributed to an increased mosquito population, Mann said.
West Nile virus usually flares up in the summer because it is most often transmitted by mosquito bites. People infected can suffer fever and aches that can become severe or even cause death, especially of the elderly, children and other at risk groups. There is no specific treatment for the West Nile infection.
A trilateral pledge will see a jump from the current collective clean power levels of about 37% to 50% by 2025
Around 6.5 million deaths globally are attributed each year to poor air quality inside and outside, making it the world's fourth-largest threat to human health, behind high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking
New World Drug Report research identifies heroin as deadliest drug
Zika has caused alarm throughout the Americas since cases of the birth defect microcephaly were reported in Brazil, the country hardest hit by the outbreak
Philadelphia has become the first big city in the US to place a tax on soda to tackle the obesity crisis
Average global temperatures startlingly higher than normal between March-May
Government study provides strongest evidence of cell phone health effects
The reason for the high-level threat in the area is the presence there of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus that health authorities say causes birth defects in newborns
Three-day African Utility Week conference begins in South African city of Cape Town
More than two thousand activists came together to close an opencast coal mine in Germany.
New federal rules unveiled on Thursday will tackle the release of the greenhouse gas methane from oil wells and equipment as part of an effort to fight climate change.
At least five reef islands in the remote Solomon Islands have been lost completely to sea level rise and coastal erosion
Heads of UN, Work Bank lay out vision to deal with climate change
Turkish environment minister signs historic agreement in New York against taking action against climate change
Human defense mechanisms could be disrupted by the presence of a class of organic pollutants in fish and other food, according to new research.