17 Aug 2012

State of emergency declared in Dallas

8:13 am on 17 August 2012

A state of emergency has been declared in the city of Dallas, Texas as it struggles to contain an outbreak of mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Residents have been urged to use insect repellent and avoid going out at dusk and dawn.

The BBC reports the declaration clears the way for aerial spraying to kill infected mosquitoes that transmit the disease.

At least 14 people are dead after contracting the virus in the state so far this year.

Almost 700 cases have been reported in 42 states - the highest number since 2004. Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma represent 80% of the cases.

The virus was first discovered in 1937 in Uganda. It is carried by birds and spread to humans by mosquitoes.