LONGMONT - Longmont businessman, 81-year-old Jack Mitchell, died over the weekend from the West Nile virus.
His family contacted 9NEWS on Sunday to say he passed away.
His wife posted on Facebook that "he was the best husband a person could ask for." She also asked for prayers for their family.
The family's story is yet another powerful reminder that the state remains a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the occasionally deadly virus. While the current numbers represent just a fraction of what the state dealt with in 2003 (the peak season in Colorado), the numbers remain high enough to keep people nervous statewide.
In 2003, for example, by late August the state had already reported 699 confirmed cases of West Nile in humans. Currently, the state reports 36 cases. It's important to note the state's numbers frequently lag behind the county's numbers, as Larimer County alone this week reported at least 30 confirmed cases.
On Friday, Weld County reported its first "neuroinvasive case" of West Nile.
"West Nile neuroinvasive disease is the most serious type of infection, affecting the brain and spinal cord," Dr. Mark Wallace, Executive Director of the Weld County Health Department, said via a news release.
Larimer County, by comparison, has already reported eight neuroinvasive cases.
Most Colorado counties, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, have yet to have a single human case.
The state's log suggest Boulder County has a total of four cases, but the figure does not include the case of Jack Mitchell as of yet.
"A mosquito can change an entire family's life in an instant. It's devastating," said Betsy Hanlin. "[Jack] has done so much in his lifetime that I just refuse to accept that a mosquito bite can take it all away."
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