There have been 12-13 cases of West Nile virus in Dallas County so far this year, and we haven’t even reached the height of West Nile season, which is August.

One of those cases of the virus — which is caused by mosquito bites and can cause long-lasting severe illness and even death in vulnerable people — is confirmed in the 75214 zip code, which is just a wee bit south of Lake Highlands.

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Health officials tell WB33 that this is a real concern and that we have an alarmingly high amount of cases for this early in the year. “Fighting the bite” and “mosquito preventing” yourself is a good start to avoiding West Nile, but health officials also say it is a community wide effort. If you clear standing water from your yard but your neighbor doesn’t, for example, it does no good.

We wrote in last month’s magazine about White Rock area residents who have invented some pleasant mosquito repellents, which are now on sale at the Park Lane Whole Foods, I noticed. Experts say using those types of items as well as straight-up bug spray helps to protect us from West Nile.

Update: A man in the East Dallas area has died from West Nile.