AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Health officials Monday confirmed two more West Nile virus-related deaths in Texas where more than 70 people have died of the mosquito-borne illness this year.
One victim, a Watauga resident in his 40s with no underlying health conditions, was the ninth death in Tarrant County in 2012, while the other was Dallas County's 18th victim, WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth reported.
The deaths are in addition to the 71 state health officials reported throughout Texas as of Sept. 24. The state has logged more than 1,500 cases of West Nile.
Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said as of Oct. 2, there had been 3,969 cases in people and 163 deaths. That is the greatest number through the first week of October since 2003, the CDC said on its website.
Almost 70 percent of the cases were recorded in eight states: Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma and Illinois.
Up to 80 percent of people infected with the West Nile virus will have no symptoms and will recover on their own, but some cases, especially among those age 50 and older with weakened immune systems, are at a higher risk for severe illness and death, Texas health officials said.
The Texas Department of Health State Services advises people to practice the the "Four Ds:"
-- Use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
-- Dress in long sleeves and long pants when outside.
-- Stay indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
-- Drain standing water in old tires, clogged gutters or garbage cans, where mosquitoes breed.