$980,000 Settlement in West Nile Case in Texas

     DALLAS (CN) – A Texas jury awarded a railroad employee $980,000 for contracting West Nile virus while on the job, just as local officials in Dallas and Fort Worth began ground and aerial spraying for the outbreak.
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     On Thursday, a jury in Dewitt County found Union Pacific 80 percent liable for Billy Nami, 62, contracting the virus in 2008, according to the Associated Press.
     His attorney, Michael Sheppard, said Nami was ordered to work along the swampy Texas coastline after Hurricane Ike. He was never given insect repellent and was not warned of the diseased, Sheppard told the AP.
     Omaha-based Union Pacific was disappointed by the verdict and plans to appeal, spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza told the AP.
     Dallas and Fort Worth have been hit particularly hard by the mosquito-born virus this year, with 167 reported cases and 10 reported deaths in Dallas County and 135 reported cases and 2 reported deaths in Tarrant County, accordingto the Texas Department of State Health Services. A total of 509 cases and 20 deaths have been reported statewide.
     On Thursday evening, Dallas County began nightly aerial spraying of the city of Dallas and several surrounding suburbs. County officials were threatened with a possible lawsuit Thursday afternoon to stop the spraying, but it was never filed, according to the Dallas County District Clerk’s office.
     On Friday evening, Fort Worth officials began ground spraying for mosquitoes in areas south and west of downtown – the first such spraying in the city in two decades. On Sunday, Arlington officials began targeted aerial spraying in three zones in the southern portion of the city.

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