SOUTHLAKE -- After hearing passionate comments for and against, the City Council voted 6-1 Monday night to accept Denton County's offer for aerial spraying for mosquitoes, the first Tarrant County city to do so.
A small part of Southlake is in Denton County, and that county's health officials offered to spray the entire city.
More than 50 residents packed the council chambers for the special meeting.
Since July 24, six human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Southlake. And mosquito pools have tested positive for it.
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Several council members said they know people infected with the virus.
"I could not look at a citizen in the eye knowing we could have done something to help them," Councilman Al Zito said. "I'm not crazy about spray coming down from the sky. Certain common-sense things should be applied. I won't be standing outside with my mouth open."
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Pamela Muller cast the "no" vote, saying she wanted more information and options before using pesticide.
Aerial spraying of the pesticide Duet could begin as soon as Thursday night or as late as this weekend, said Bob Martinez, Denton County emergency preparedness coordinator.
Details are to be released today by Denton County. The state will pay for the spraying, Martinez said.
The planes will start spraying at 9 p.m. on two consecutive days. They will use 0.8 ounce of Duet per acre, Martinez said.
Cathy Vollmer said that when she lived in California, she went through aerial spraying.
"Everything was fine," she said. "We are in a critical condition of people getting sick. It's not a long-term exposure. It's a short-term exposure."
But Julie Mansen said she grows an organic garden to keep chemicals out of her body. Aerial spraying is a "knee-jerk reaction," she said.
"When this product hits our groundwater, the soil changes and the whole ecosystem changes," she said. "That would incur more cost for me to correct that."
Mayor John Terrell said aerial spraying will not relieve residents of personal responsibility to eliminate standing water and treat large pools of water with larvicide.
Denton County has reported 122 human cases of West Nile and two deaths. The numbers of cases are lower than in Tarrant and Dallas counties, but Denton health officials say their rate per capita is the state's highest.
As of Monday, Tarrant County had reported 231 human virus cases and four deaths, unchanged since last week.
Dallas County had reported 300 human cases and 12 deaths as of Monday.
Tarrant cases slowing
In Tarrant County, health officials report a slowing in the number of cases reported.
"We've been on a downward trend for the past two weeks," said Anita Kurian, chief epidemiologist for Tarrant County Public Health. "We are seeing a decline in positive mosquito pools and human cases."
In Fort Worth, ground spraying will continue in portions of the 76137 and 76244 ZIP codes between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. today, Wednesday and Thursday. Contractors sprayed portions of the 76137 ZIP code Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Scott Hanlan, Fort Worth assistant code compliance director, said, "We continue to remind residents how important it is to take personal action, whether it's monitoring standing water on their property or ensuring that family members wear insect repellent when they're involved in outdoor activities."
From the outset, health officials have encouraged North Texans always to use repellent with DEET when outside.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752