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Public housing units not sprayed

Despite an encephalitis outbreak, Hillsborough County's insecticide-spraying trucks have not gone into three of Tampa's largest public housing complexes for fear of drivers' safety. The College Hill, Ponce De Leon and Central Village housing developments, which contain about 1,900 units, had not been sprayed to protect against mosquitoes carrying St. Louis encephalitis, said Dan Gorman, director of the mosquito control department.

But spraying will begin Monday because of a meeting Tuesday between Gorman and the executive director of the Tampa Housing Authority. Smaller housing developments have been sprayed already, Gorman said.

One case of encephalitis has been confirmed in the Ponce De Leon development, according to health officials. Although encephalitis can be fatal, the condition of that victim began improving weeks ago.

Several years ago, trucks spraying in the larger developments were pelted with rocks and bottles and vandalized, Gorman said. In one case, a car was used to block the truck's escape, he said.

Gorman said he met Tuesday with Audley Evans, executive director of the Tampa Housing Authority, asking him to help protect drivers. He said Evans promised to distribute fliers, alerting residents to the need for the trucks.