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18/08/12 17:33 CET
The US city of Dallas has dropped insecticide from the air for a second time to combat a deadly outbreak of West Nile virus.
Several aircraft have been deployed after the city was declared the centre of the worst outbreak in the US this year.
First identified in Africa in the 1930s, West Nile is spread to humans by mosquitos. The virus was discovered in the US more than a decade ago.
Nationally, at least 26 people have died this year.
It is thought as many as 700 people have been infected with around two-thirds experiencing severe symptoms.
“I went to bed that night and the next morning I woke up and I was blind. People just need to be aware that this is serious,” said Hal Dalton, who is now in a wheelchair.
It’s the first time in nearly 50 years that Dallas has resorted to spraying insecticide by air.
Residents have been warned to stay indoors although officials say the chemical is only harmful if swallowed.
“We have two dogs and a cat and so we just went ahead and covered their part of the yard too as well as the area that my daughter plays in, just to be extra safe,” said Dallas resident Leea Thompson.
Over the past 13 years, it is estimated that three million Americans have become infected with West Nile. With no vaccine available, authorities in Dallas say they are taking no chances.
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