71-year-old Denver resident dies of West Nile virus

A Denver resident has died of the West Nile virus, officials with the city Department of Public Health and Environment said Thursday. It’s the 11th virus-related death in the state this year.

DDPHE confirmed a 71-year-old person who had been hospitalized with the virus died, a news release said. The West Nile virus is not spread through person-to-person transmission but through the bite of an infected mosquito.

“We are thinking of the family during this difficult time,” said Bob McDonald, DDPHE’s executive director, in the release. “This mosquito season has been particularly bad in Colorado, and I urge everyone to take (West Nile virus) seriously and take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from mosquito bites.”

This season there have been 11 virus-related deaths statewide, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. All of the deaths have been reported this month.

Health officials in Larimer and Boulder counties on Tuesday confirmed two virus-related deaths. The state’s first death from West Nile was reported on Aug. 4 in Weld County. A death was reported Monday in La Plata County.

Most West Nile cases in Colorado are diagnosed in August and September. The mosquito season typically runs into mid-October, ending with the first freeze.

Since the beginning of the mosquito season, DDPHE disease intervention specialists have investigated 23 cases of the virus.

Statewide, 60 people have been hospitalized by West Nile this season, according to the CDPHE. There have been 103 statewide cases and 57 people have suffered neurologic symptoms.

While everyone is at risk of West Nile infection, people over age 50 or those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk. West Nile virus symptoms include fever, extreme fatigue, headache and body aches. People experiencing symptoms should consult a doctor, medical treatments can relieve symptoms and help lead to a quicker recovery.

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