Doctors and health officials are warning residents across the province of the tiny but mighty insect that arrives with spring and summer.

Mosquitoes begin to appear in the southwest with rainy days and warm nights, something Swift Current and area have experienced consistently in recent weeks. 

Dr. David Torr, medical health officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), reminds the public that the pesky insect isn't just a nuisance, but can also carry risks of disease. 

"We do get the types of mosquitoes that carry diseases like West Nile virus," he said. "We have seen a reduction in West Nile virus and part of that is because a good number of the population has been exposed to it and either have been ill or managed to overcome the illness and have now developed immunity, but not everybody has developed that."

The first step to preventing infection of serious disease, is to prevent being bitten.

Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours and spaces, so when spending time outside it's ideal to wear light colours. Leaving as little skin exposed as possible and applying insect repellent are other tips.

However, it's also important to ensure that the insects don't have an environment to reproduce, such as bodies of stagnant water or thick bushes. 

In 2022, there were 47 reported cases of West Nile in the country. While dangerous diseases may not be extremely prominent in Canada, it's important to learn the risks if travelling elsewhere. 

"In summer there's a lot of folks who travel, and there are more diseases carried by mosquitoes in other environments, especially warm tropical environments that many folks travel to," added Dr. Torr. "It's important to carry protection and use the same precautions when you travel to those areas. Many people will travel and not consider that there are mosquitoes there that carry diseases such as dengue, Zika or Chikungunya."

In the early 2000s, The World Health Organization (WHO) reported approximately half a million cases of dengue happening every year. In 2023, there were over six million cases of dengue, and between January and April of this year alone, the number of cases reported has been over seven and a half million.