2 deaths from West Nile virus in Maricopa County this season

PHOENIX (AP) -- Health officials say Maricopa County has reported its first two deaths this season from the West Nile virus.

There have been 26 human cases of West Nile so far this season in Arizona's most populous county.

The two people who died both were over 50 years old -- the age group most at risk for serious complications of West Nile virus.

Last year, Maricopa County had 62 West Nile cases with two deaths.

The virus is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

It can cause severe illness in people and horses, although only about 20 percent of those infected will develop any symptoms at all.

Those who do develop symptoms usually report fever, headache, body aches and muscle weakness.

Severe cases can lead to paralysis or death.