mosquito2007

Ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes have contributed to the high numbers of West Nile virus infections, Saskatchewan health officials say. ((CBC))

West Nile infections have reached a Saskatchewan record, and a fourth person has died after contracting the virus, health officials say.

The total number of people who have contracted West Nile this year in Saskatchewan now stands at 1,054, the health department said Friday.

The last time the numbers were anywhere close to that was in 2003, when there were947infections. Seven people died that year.

This year, more than half of those infected live in the Regina-Qu'Appelle and Saskatoon health regions. Provincial officials were expected to release more information about the latest death Friday afternoon.

The public is advised to take precautions against mosquitoes, including wearing clothes that don't leave skin exposed and using insect repellent.

Government officials said wet, warm weather earlier in the year provided the perfect breeding conditions for the variety of mosquito that carries the virus.

The virus can cause flu-like symptoms, but in extreme cases it can lead to neurological damage or death.

According to the heath department, 30 Saskatchewan people have experienced severe symptoms.

Saskatchewan has more West Nile infections this year than any other province in the country,according tothePublic Health Agency of Canada.