The number of West Nile Virus cases in Hamilton has reached an all time high with 20 cases in the latest report from Hamilton Public Health Services.
West Nile numbers have climbed across the province this year, topping off at 244 cases, including four deaths as a result of the virus.
“It’s high across the province, it’s not just us in Hamilton,” Hamidah Meghani, associate medical officer of health for HPHS, said.
Of the 20 people infected in Hamilton, seven were hospitalized.
There have been no deaths related to West Nile Virus in Hamilton, but it has the fourth highest number of reported cases in the province. Toronto tops the list with 90 cases, while the Halton and Windsor regions had 23 and 22 cases, respectively.
Now that the weather has cooled, mosquito season is mostly over and we likely won’t be seeing any new infections, according to Meghani.
“Considering that we’ve have two to three weeks of not having West-Nile-positive mosquito traps, at this time we’re not going to be seeing much,” she said, but added there may be a few more cases from September infections, as the symptoms takes a few weeks to show up.
The numbers for West Nile in Hamilton previously peaked at 15 cases in 2002, which was a record year in Ontario with more than 394 cases and 19 deaths.
The record number of cases this year can be attributed to the warm spring and summer but Meghani said it’s too early to tell what next year will bring.
“We can’t predict that right now,” she said. “It will be based on whatever the weather throws our way next year.”