The state Health Department on Tuesday confirmed two more deaths related to West Nile virus.
Five Oklahomans have died this year of the mosquito-borne illness: two people in Carter County, two people in Oklahoma County and one person in Seminole County.
The two most recent deaths occurred in Carter County; both victims were older than 75.
There have been 92 confirmed cases of West Nile virus this year statewide. The majority of cases have occurred in residents older than 40. The highest number of confirmed cases in the state happened in 2007, with 107 cases.
About the virus
West Nile virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito and takes between three and 15 days to present in people and horses, according to the state Health Department.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine for West Nile, other than a vaccine for horses.
Nationwide, 1,118 cases of West Nile virus have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the highest number of cases reported to the CDC through the third week in August since the virus was first detected in the United States in 1999.
State health officials recommend residents take precautions against the virus when outdoors by using insect repellent containing an active ingredient like at least 10 percent DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
It also is important to prevent anything outdoors from holding standing water and to empty and refill a pet's water bowl daily. Swimming pools and hot tubs should be maintained regularly, and residents should also clear fallen leaves and debris from gutters.
Each of these measures can help decrease the likelihood of mosquito populations and thus mosquito bites.