Second West Nile Virus Death

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West Nile virus has claimed its second Colorado victim of the season---a 78-year-old woman from Grand Junction.

Mesa County health officials say the woman died last week from meningoencephalitis. The inflammation of the brain and its surrounding tissues is a result of West Nile virus.

The woman reportedly contracted the illness along the Front Range. The state health department says 79 Mesa County residents have been infected with West Nile this year, including the two women who died.

A 90-year-old Grand Junction woman died of West Nile-related encephalitis July 31st.

Statewide, there've been 136 cases of West Nile virus this season. There were 2,947 reported cases and 63 deaths related to the virus in Colorado in 2003-2004.