Entries in Dallas (2)


West Nile Virus Outbreak: Planes Spraying in Dallas County After 8 Deaths

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- Facing the worst outbreak of West Nile virus in the nation this year, Dallas County is conducting aerial sprays Saturday to try to contain the mosquitoes that carry the disease.

Eight people have died after contracting the illness and more than 120 cases have been reported in Dallas County, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

Officials in the county, which encompasses the metropolitan area of Dallas and Fort Worth, authorized the aerial sprays on Friday after meeting with state health officials and experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was the first time in nearly five decades aerial sprays were approved.

Residents near three areas that are scheduled to be sprayed were advised to avoid contact with the insecticide by staying indoors or traveling with their car windows closed until the spray is no longer visible.

The Dallas County Medical Society had lobbied for an aerial spraying plan after the outbreak reached "historic levels" and urged the Dallas County Health and Human Services department to "act quickly to reduce the risks of additional infection among the area's residents."

The increased number of cases in Texas this year were attributed to the extreme heat and recent rain, according to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

There is no vaccine for the virus, which causes symptoms including high fevers, headaches and disorientation.

Since the first case of West Nile Virus was reported in the United States in 1999, more than 30,000 people have come down with the disease, according to the CDC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Quinn the Dog Swims for Cancer Cure

(DALLAS) -- It’s not easy to upstage Olympic medalists at their own sport, but Quinn the dog is getting ready to do just that in his second year as the “unofficial mascot” of Swim Across America in Dallas.

The 160-pound Leonberger, who is a natural in the water, has a lofty goal this year — to raise $10,000. Proceeds from the June 9 event will benefit the Innovative Clinical Trials Center at Baylor University’s Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, where Quinn also works as a therapy dog, primarily with cancer patients.

Quinn and his handler, Peggy Walker, met a group of Olympians who were promoting Dallas’ inaugural Swim Across America at a hospital event.

“I said, ‘Leonbergers are great swimmers and they asked if Quinn would like to be in the function,” Walker said.

That day, the gentle giant, who has webbed feet that help him swim, posed with an Olympic medal around his neck. Walker was sold on the idea of raising money for the people Quinn comforts at his day job.

Although Quinn’s fundraising page wasn’t set up until a week before the event, he still managed to raise $4,000 from people he had touched in the community and Leonberger lovers.

During the swim, which has half-mile, one-mile and two-mile options, Quinn cheered on the participants from the dock before he took his own dip in Lake Ray Hubbard in front of an adoring crowd.

There’s no doubt Quinn could doggie paddle with great endurance, but organizers like to keep their star participant close to the shore.

“He’s a fairly competitive swimmer, so we don’t want him to get too far out in the lake,” said Jeanne Cunningham, co-chair of Swim Across America.

This year, Cunningham said younger participants may be invited to “get in and splash around with Quinn.”

Last year the event raised $360,000, and Quinn’s handler said she has no doubt her dog will do his part again.

“He’s there to bring smiles,” Walker said. “There’s something about Leonbergers that’s very, very appealing.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio