Harris County plans 600000-acre aerial mosquito spray for Thursday, Sept. 14

Aedes Aegypti

An Aedes Aegypti mosquito is seen in a lab of the International Training and Medical Research Training Center. Reuters Jaime Saldarriaga

Aerial sprays for mosquitoes will cover about 600,00 acres of Harris County. U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes based in San Antonio will conduct an aerial spray mission starting Thursday evening, September 14. Cargo planes will spray Dibrom, an insecticide, by air in the affected area.

The flights, which could take more than one day, are part of a plan to spray chemicals over about 600,000 acres in Harris County to eliminate an expected increase in disease-carrying mosquitoes in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

In an attempt to lower these risks, Harris County Public Health is partnering with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the U.S. Air Force Reserve to conduct an aerial spray operation in Harris County.

According to Dr. Umair A. Shah, executive director of Harris County Public Health (HCPH), "The goal is to reduce the effects mosquitoes are having on recovery efforts and the possibility of a future increase in mosquito-borne disease". According to HCPH, dibrom is considered safe for the environment and is applied by licensed applicators.

As a precaution, residents concerned about exposure during the aerial spray operation should stay indoors during the evening aerial application in the treated areas. To reduce the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes, residents are encouraged to use an EPA-registered mosquito repellent when outside. Door screens and windows should be in good condition and fit tightly to keep them out of the home, officials said.

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