September 12, 2017 8:14 am
Updated: September 12, 2017 8:15 am

Health officials confirm West Nile virus linked to 2 deaths in southwestern Ontario

The buzz around West Nile virus is back. As Mike Drolet reports, new research suggests we could see a spike in new cases.

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WINDSOR, Ont. – Health officials in southwestern Ontario say two people have died from West Nile virus in the last week, the first deaths linked to the infection in the area since 2012.

The public health unit in Windsor, Ont., says the two cases are unrelated but gave no other details about them.

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READ MORE: Ontario facing worst West Nile Virus ‘outbreak’ in 15 years, says researcher

It says the deaths are a warning to the public that West Nile continues to be a risk until temperatures drop below the freezing point, though most people infected never develop symptoms.

Ontario has seen by far the most human cases of West Nile this year, with the province’s public health agency reporting 37 confirmed or probable cases as of Sept. 2.

READ MORE: Brock University researchers predict West Nile Virus epidemic in Ontario

The latest data collected by the Public Health Agency of Canada, meanwhile, shows only one confirmed human case outside of Ontario as of Aug. 19 – someone in British Columbia who showed no symptoms.

There were 104 human cases of West Nile confirmed last year, though the federal agency says others likely went undetected.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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