Oklahoma has reached 118 confirmed West Nile virus cases this year, the highest number of cases recorded in the state in a single year, state Health Department officials said.
The Health Department also reported Tuesday that two more residents have died from West Nile virus-related illness. So far, seven residents have died because of the virus.
One of the deaths, a man between the ages of 40 and 50 in Tulsa County, marks the youngest person reported dead from the virus. The other person who died was a woman in Tulsa County who was between the ages of 70 and 80.
West Nile virus is cyclical, peaking every three to four years. In 2007, Oklahoma saw 107 confirmed cases of West Nile virus and nine deaths.
Oklahoma is not alone in high cases of West Nile virus. There have been 1,590 cases reported nationwide. It is the highest number the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has seen through the last week in August since the virus entered the U.S. in 1999.
West Nile virus is generally contracted through the bite of a mosquito. Public health officials recommend that residents use mosquito repellent with DEET and remove standing water from their homes.
Residents of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County can report stagnant water outside their own property. To file a complaint about mosquito habitat, residents can visit the complaints section of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department website or call the county health department's Consumer Protection division at 425-4347.