Southlake man details his wife's battle with West Nile at City Council meeting

SOUTHLAKE -- Orest Dachniwsky's wife is one of six Southlake residents diagnosed with the nueroinvasive form of West Nile virus.

Dachniwsky was one of many speakers who spoke at a public hearing last week before the City Council voted to allow Denton County to conduct aerial spraying in Southlake.

Pounding headaches, dizziness, vision problems and a loss of taste and smell were among the symptoms he described.

"This is the life my wife has lived for the past three weeks and we have no sign of it going away," Dachniwsky said. "I think it would be a big mistake for us not to take the efforts to do everything we can to prevent people from having to go through what my wife is going through.

His wife, Ann, wasn't considered at high risk for the disease, Dachniwsky said.

"You spend more than a week in bed asleep, waking up every two hours to take pain meds," he said.

Several other Southlake residents spoke in favor of aerial spraying.

Cathy Vollmer said she lived in California when the state did aerial spraying decades ago. She was pregnant at the time.

"Everything was fine," Vollmer told the City Council. "We are in a critical condition of people getting sick. It's not a long-term exposure. It's a short-term exposure."

Larry Henley said his wife has a suppressed immune system so she's at a high risk for West Nile virus.

"If (spraying is) not a risk, then go for it," Henley said. "I think it would be a tragedy if she got it. There's people who can't survive it."

Elaine Cox lives next to a creek and she told the Council she's spent her own money to spray her property.

"If we did aerial spraying it would take care of creeks," she said. "We cannot afford to have anybody else get sick from West Nile virus. Even if we just save one person, it's definitely worth it."

Others speakers said the pesticides pose a greater risk to people and the environment than West Nile virus.

Julie Mansen said she avoids using chemicals in her organic garden and aerial spraying would dump chemicals all over her vegetables.

"We spend a lot of money getting organic products into our grounds," Mansen said. "When this product would hit our ground water, the soil changes and the whole ecosystem changes. Who would replace the cost I've already invested in that?"

Mansen suggested building more habitats for bats, which eat mosquitoes, and using other natural methods to get rid of mosquitoes.

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