Dallas County health officials on Tuesday announced the state's first death of 2013 attributed to the West Nile virus.

The patient, who lived in the 75224 zip code in South Oak Cliff, was diagnosed with West Nile neuroinvasive disease. No further information was released about the gender or age of the victim.

State health officials have documented 31 total human cases of West Nile virus in 18 Texas counties so far this year. The illness hit its peak in 2012 with 89 deaths.

As of September 3, the last date for which statewide statistics are available, Dallas County reported four West Nile cases; Collin County had three; Tarrant had two and Denton had one.

West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted by mosquitoes. Health officials suggest that the best way to avoid exposure is to follow the four D's:

  • Use Insect repellents that contain DEET
  • Drain any standing water
  • Dress in long, loose and light-colored clothing and
  • Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from Dusk to Dawn.
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