AUSTIN -- More cases of the West Nile virus are confirmed in Travis County. This comes as Dallas County in North Texas declares a public health emergency over an outbreak there.
Austin-Travis County has now seen 13 human cases of the virus this year, including one fatality.
Austin-Travis County Medical Director Dr. Philip Huang said years ago, concerns over the safety of spraying for mosquitoes prompted a policy ban on spraying within city limits, but now that Dallas County has declared a public health emergency over a deadly outbreak of the West Nile virus, the issue has once again returned.
Williamson and Hays counties are also investigating cases of the virus.
In Travis County, mosquitoes have tested positive for the virus in 20 zip codes.
Along the Lady Bird hike and bike trail, some believe the spray-ban should be reconsidered.
"If it is deadly, then yea, definitely in the city. Yea, definitely," said one Austin resident.
"I think we need to look at the possibility," another Austin resident said.
Dr. Huang says the county has sprayed this summer. He maintains the chemicals used are safe and dissipate quickly. He says the county takes precautions, and only sprays in unincorporated areas.
As of right now, there are no plans to start spraying within the city. If Travis County reaches an emergency state, which is decided by Dr. Huang, he will reconsider spraying.
Instead, health officials are targeting larvae. The larvae are typically found in standing pools of water where mosquitoes breed. He said targeting them would help combat the potential for an outbreak in Central Texas.
The larvae are primarily found in areas with standing water where mosquitoes breed. If you spot them, call the county. They will come out and investigate if they haven't already. To notify the county's health department, call 512-978-0370.