West Nile outbreak leads to state of emergency in Dallas County

Nine people have died from a West Nile virus outbreak that infected 175 people in Dallas County, Texas, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency.

The emergency was declared on Friday by Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, the county's director of homeland security and emergency management, DisasterNews reports.

"This declaration will expand our avenues DisasterNew assistance in our ongoing battle with West Nile virus," Jenkins said, DisasterNews reports. "While we are busy doing everything we can to keep residents well informed and as protected as possible, we need your help."

Jenkins also said that planes would be spraying insecticide over areas most effected by the virus, which is spread by mosquitoes. He assured citizens that the insecticide is safe and that the planes will be precise in their spraying.

Tarrant County has also received 146 reported cases of West Nile in the last few weeks. The county has not declared a state of emergency, though, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, DisasterNews reports.

Houston officials are warning residents of an increased threat of the virus.

"Houston can definitely expect an increase in West Nile disease," said Kristy Murray, an infectious disease specialist at the Baylor College of Medicine's National School of Tropical Medicine, DisasterNews reports. "From mid-August through September is the big season here."