The number of confirmed West Nile virus cases in Oklahoma has climbed to 144, according to data released Tuesday by the state Health Department.
While the number of confirmed deaths is holding steady at eight, the number of confirmed cases jumped by 11 since the previous report, which was released Thursday.
The state's previous record number of cases for the illness — which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito — was 107, set in 2007. In 2010 and 2011, only one case was confirmed each year.
From 2002 to 2011, there were 327 confirmed cases and 21 deaths, Health Department records show.
Of the 27 counties with West Nile cases confirmed this year by the Health Department, Oklahoma County has the highest number, with 48. Tulsa County follows with 30; Carter County has 15; and Pittsburg County has 10. The other 23 counties each have five or fewer cases.
State health and medical officials warn residents to take precautions to help avoid mosquito bites. This is especially relevant for older people, who are more susceptible to severe illness as a result of the disease.