By: Rachael O'Neil | CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While many Texans are taking precautions against COVID-19, Dallas County Health and Human Services are encouraging everyone to take safety measures against the West Nile virus — a mosquito borne disease that arrived in Dallas County back in 2002.

According to DCHHS, cases of the West Nile virus spiked in 2012. They saw an uptick again in 2020.

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If a human contracts the virus, health officials say they could experience severe sickness. Symptoms may include high fever, neck stiffness, coma, tumors and vision loss. People ages 60 and over are at a greater risk of serious illness, if they catch this virus.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protecting yourself if you follow the “4 D’s.”

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“DEET. That means, whenever you’re outside, wear repellents. Number two would be to dress accordingly, whenever you’re outside we want you to cover your body as much as possible and to wear light colors,” explained Christian Grisales, DCHHS spokesman. “Next would be to drain any water that you have around your house. We want you to do that because we know that mosquitoes feed and breed in water. Limit your activities from dusk to dawn.”

The West Nile virus is most active during the summertime, so as temperatures begin to rise, following the steps are critical.

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On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, Tarrant County confirmed its first West Nile virus positive mosquito sample of the 2021 season. The sample was collected in Crowley.