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via BBC News

Dallas has sprayed insecticide over the city for the first time in nearly half a century, to combat a deadly outbreak of West Nile virus.

Dallas and other north Texas cities agreed to the rare measure to combat the nation’s worst outbreak of the mosquito-borne infection this year.

The move has prompted debate among health officials over the effects of insecticidal mist blanketing the area.

Ten people have died and at least 230 cases have been reported in the state.

Almost half of all cases of West Nile virus in the US this year are in Texas.

If the pattern continues, 2012 could be the worst year for West Nile virus infections in the state’s history.

Analysts say the hot, dry weather conditions this year have created ideal circumstances for some mosquito species.

Standing water can become stagnant when not replenished by rain, while the heat speeds up the mosquito life cycle – and replicates the virus more quickly.

“I cannot have any more deaths on my conscience because we did not take action,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said of the decision to spray the area with insecticide on Thursday night.

It is the first time the city has taken such a measure in more than 45 years.

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Article courtesy bbc.co.uk

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