DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As temperatures begin to climb and there are more and more signs of summer, Dallas County officials are reminding residents that the West Nile Virus is active and precautions need to be taken.

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) is urging residents to begin using DEET or other EPA-approved repellents to prevent mosquito bites.

“Our mosquito surveillance program and the county and municipal abatement teams are taking the appropriate actions to ensure the safety of our residents,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “However, it is important that residents do their part by taking the necessary precautions to avoid exposure to the virus.”

Dallas County saw a spike in the number of people getting West Nile Virus last year. Nearly 200 people got sick, and 20 of them lost their lives.

Last month Dallas kicked off an aggressive plant to fight the virus that sickened hundreds and caught the city off guard last year. This year the city is increasing efforts to stop the virus by using three times as many mosquito traps, paying extra for lab results to be returned faster, and by adding an additional pesticide spraying truck.

Already this year there have been mosquito pools that have tested positive for the virus. DCHHS assistant director of Environmental Health Anthony Jenkins said, “It is important to practice the recommended preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of contracting West Nile Virus.”

Health officials are urging North Texans to remember the five D’s when it comes to controlling the presence of mosquitoes —

DRAIN—Drain all areas of standing water including changing water in wading pools, birdbaths, and cleaning out gutters;
DEET—Use bug spray and protect clothing with repellents containing permethrin or DEET;
DRESS—Dress in light- colored clothing with long sleeves and wear long pants;
DUSK/DAWN—Limit outdoor exposure at dusk and dawn;
DOORS—Keep door and window screens in good repair

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