Dallas County health officials think that sooner or later, there will be a homegrown Zika case.
"It's not if," Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson said Monday morning, "but when."
When that happens, the county will begin dropping pesticide from the skies to kill Asian tiger mosquitoes, the main transmitter of the Zika virus that causes encephalitis in newborns and brain disorders in adults. And it will do so with or without the Dallas City Council's consent.
"There would be no time for discussion," Thompson said in an interview. "While we're debating it, more transmissions could be happening locally. Given the number of pregnant women potentially impacted in the city of Dallas, we would definitely have to look at aerial spraying immediately."
Thompson and other county health officials went to Dallas City Hall on Monday morning to brief the council's Quality of Life and Environment Committee on the growing number of Zika cases in the county. That briefing was already outdated: Thompson said at the meeting's outset that there are now 28 confirmed Zika cases in Dallas County, not the 27 listed in the PowerPoint prepared at the end of last week.