August 20, 2012

2 more Tarrant deaths attributed to West Nile

Deaths of elderly man, woman with other medical conditions brings county's total to four, public health officials report.

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FORT WORTH -- Public health officials have confirmed two more deaths related to the West Nile virus in Tarrant County, bringing the total to four this year, Tarrant County Public Health reported Monday.

The latest deaths were of a Fort Worth man and a North Richland Hills woman, both in their 80s with underlying medical conditions.

Under federal medical privacy law, county officials say, they cannot release further identifying information.

On Friday, relatives of Dorris Worsham, 83, of North Richland Hills told the Star-Telegram that she died Wednesday of what her doctors said was West Nile-related encephalitis.

Two victims confirmed earlier were a Euless woman in her 60s and a Fort Worth man in his 80s, both with underlying health conditions, officials said.

As of Monday, 205 human cases of West Nile virus infection had been reported in the county.

To attack infected mosquitoes, Fort Worth hired a contractor to spray an insecticide at ground level for three nights in portions of ZIP codes 76104 and 76110. Spraying ended Sunday, and no further spraying has been announced.

The effectiveness of the three-night spraying won't be known for a few more days, Brandon Bennett, Fort Worth's code compliance director, said Monday evening. "Then we'll make a decision if we need to spray somewhere else.

"We set traps tonight and will continue setting them and will evaluate the results and decide where to go from there," he said.

Bennett said weekend storms did not affect the spraying schedule.

"We worked in between the weather," Bennett said. "We had ideal conditions. We waited out the storms, and it worked out real well for us."

The area just south of downtown wasn't the only area under observation. Human cases and West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes have increased in ZIP codes 76137 and 76244, city officials say. A community meeting is planned for 6:30 tonight at Summerglen Library, 4205 Basswood Blvd.

Arlington will wrap up three days of ground spraying tonight. Spraying was scheduled around Jake Langston Park, Arlington Municipal Airport and Doug Russell Park, a news release said.

"We're very satisfied with the operation," Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson said Monday night.

In Dallas, aerial spraying resumed Monday night. Storms delayed the spraying Thursday, Friday and Sunday nights.

Dallas County has 10 confirmed deaths.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

Twitter: @martysabota

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