mosquito2007

Saskatchewan residents are being reminded to guard against mosquitoes that spread the West Nile virus. ((CBC))

The variety of mosquito that spreads the West Nile virus has shown up in Saskatoon and Regina for the first time this year, health officials say.

"The finding reinforces the need to take precautions but keep in mind as of now West Nile virus has not been found in the province, however, we are still monitoring the situation closely," said Dr. Steven Whitehead, deputy medical health officer for the Saskatoon Health Region, in a news release Thursday.

The Culex taraslis mosquito transmits the virus, which causes flu-like symptoms in people, and in extreme cases can lead to neurological damage and even death.

Saskatchewan had a record number of people infected by the virus in 2007. More than 1,450 had West Nile and at least four of those people died.

Whitehead is warning people to guard against getting bitten by mosquitoes.

When going outside, people should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to reduce the amount of skin exposed and also use mosquito repellent, he said. Keeping the grass cut short and eliminating pools of standing water will also reduce the number of mosquitoes.