Health briefs, Oct. 1, 2013

Man dies from West Nile complications

An elderly Mesa County man died from complications of West Nile virus, the Mesa County Health Department announced.

He is the first Mesa County death related to the virus this year, Health Department officials said in a news release. 

The man was likely infected with the virus in late August or early September. His symptoms were cough, body aches, fever and chills. He later developed encephalitis, acute inflammation of the brain, officials said.

West Nile virus can cause encephalitis or meningitis, especially among the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

“This is a good reminder that West Nile Virus is a serious illness,” said Rene Landry, communicable disease manager at the Health Department, in a news release. “Until we get a hard frost and those mosquitoes stop flying around, the risk is still there.”

Of people infected with West Nile virus, 80 percent show no symptoms. Symptoms can include headache, fever, body aches, nausea, a rash and swollen lymph nodes, as well as the more serious complications of encephalitis and meningitis.

Six Mesa County residents have been diagnosed with West Nile virus this year. Of those, three suffered uncomplicated fevers and three developed encephalitis or meningitis.  In 2012, 14 Mesa County residents had confirmed cases of West Nile virus. None of those residents died. The last death attributed to West Nile virus in Mesa County was in 2010.

Fire departments kick off Pink October


Many residents of the Grand Valley suffer the symptoms of cancer. That is why the fire departments of Mesa County are working to educate the public about the disease and to raise money in support of those who are battling the illness.

In recognition of Pink October, fire department personnel will wear pink duty shirts starting today and continue for the entire month of October.

Departments also will sell pink T-shirts to the community. The cost is $20. Proceeds from the sale go to Delaney Donates, a local charity that supports families dealing with cancer.

Dr. Pitcher joins plastic surgery center


Dr. Jeffrey M. Pitcher is the newest surgeon at a local reconstructive surgery center, ReGenesis Plastic Surgery & Skin Care Center announced.

Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Pitcher is a graduate of the University of Utah and earned his doctorate from MCP Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia,  according to a news release.

Pitcher completed a general surgery residency at Indiana University and a plastic and reconstructive surgery residency at Washington University in St. Louis. He specializes in breast reconstruction, nerve reconstruction and cosmetic surgery.

He came to ReGenesis from a medical practice in Minot, N.D. He is married with four children and enjoys all aspects of the Colorado outdoors especially hiking, biking and camping.


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