Tarrant County Public Health officials say a second pool sample, this one in Pantego, has tested positive for West Nile virus.Pantego officials were working Monday to negotiate a contract for mosquito spraying, said Ronald Edwards, the town’s public works director.The positive sample was collected in an industrial area in the town’s southwest corner, he said.“We are developing a plan to spray all areas with high mosquito counts,” he said. “We do not have a definitive date for spraying at this time.” The county’s first positive sample for West Nile was reported June 27 in Grapevine, about three weeks later than last year. Public health staffers have conducted 1,647 tests to date, spokeswoman Vanassa Joseph said Monday.Grapevine sprayed for mosquitoes a day after the positive test was confirmed at a trap in the 300 block of West Dallas Road, near the police station, a city official said.Tarrant County Public Health has reported one human case of West Nile fever: a woman in her 40s in Fort Worth. West Nile fever is a milder form of the disease caused by the virus, and up to 80 percent of those who contract it never have symptoms. The deadly form is West Nile neuroinvasive disease.The public health department has been conducting preventive spraying on the south side of the county in recent weeks.Last year, Tarrant County reported its first human case June 20. For the entire season, Tarrant County reported 280 human cases, including 11 deaths.As of July 2, the state was reporting confirmed two human cases of West Nile illness.The other case was an Anderson County male recovering from the neuroinvasive form of the disease. Last year, Texas reported 1,868 human cases of West Nile illness, including 89 deaths, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.It was an unprecedented outbreak that led state health officials to improve response capabilities. The intensity of West Nile virus activity fluctuates from year to year, depending on factors including weather, the number of birds and mosquitoes that maintain and spread the virus, the state health department said.The season can last until the first hard freeze of the year.The state health department has plans in place to move quickly to a faster form of mosquito testing and to double testing capacity if another outbreak situation appears imminent. This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.
Patrick M. Walker, 682-232-4674 Twitter: @patrickmwalker1