West Nile Virus is still a concern, over 20 years after the initial outbreak in North America.

It's important to remind folks that it is an ever-present danger during the warmer parts of the year, as mosquitos can still transmit the disease with a single bite.

That's why Dr. David Torr, Medical Health Officer for the Southwest, wants to reopen the discussion by ensuring people are aware of the risks.

"The reminder is that we still do have West Nile virus that circulates during the summer," said Torr. "August is really the peak time for the mosquitoes that carry the West Nile Virus to be circulating, and unlike the earlier presenting mosquitoes, or what we call the nuisance mosquitoes, these are very quiet biters."

Even as August has transitioned into September, the warm weather that has carried over into this month with the 30 C temperatures has enabled the mosquito season to stretch on. These conditions are perfect for the carrier species that is found in Saskatchewan.

"That particular species of mosquito, the Culex tarsalis, does carry West Nile virus," said Torr. "And we have had a number of the pools that we collect mosquitoes in the province showing West Nile Virus existing, so as much as over the years we've had fewer and fewer cases of West Nile virus, it's still important to take precautions to avoid these mosquito bites."

The big danger with these mosquitos is that they are quiet, and are very difficult to detect when biting. The best way to avoid their bites is to cover up with clothing, use bug spray, and avoid the stagnant waters they will be living in.

People can protect their homes by making sure that they close their doors during the day, making sure any open windows are fitted with mosquito-proof mesh and endeavouring to avoid having stagnant water in their yards.

If you feel symptoms of muscle weakness, joint pain, fever, or headaches, it's a good idea to get checked out for the virus, especially if you have been outdoors.

"While the treatment is most essentially supportive treatment, we don't have an actual direct medication that will kill the virus, so that's why it's so important to prevent any possible exposure and possible contracting of this illness," said Torr."

Some cases of the disease are mild and result in no consequences. Others aren't so lucky as they can experience weakened limbs, difficulty with coordinated movements, and even more serious complications.

"The best thing is to prevent, as much as possible, any mosquito bites so that you minimize any risk of contracting this virus," finished Torr.