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Tick season returns to Minnesota, with state officials and experts concerned

Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 6:27 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), this tick season could potentially be a rough one for pets and for people. MDH says this year’s drought conditions paired with a late spring helped create an interesting setup for ticks this early summer.

“The ticks are definitely out,” said Elizabeth Schiffman, MDH vector-borne diseases supervisor. “We’re coming into that prime time of year where risk for coming across ticks is high.”

The two ticks Minnesotans should have their eye on this summer are: dog ticks, also known as wood ticks, and blacklegged ticks, more commonly known as deer ticks. Though dog ticks are not zero risk, deer ticks are much more likely to be carrying diseases, such as Lyme.

“Deer ticks on the other hand, are commonly infected with tick-borne diseases,” said Jonathan Oliver, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota, who specializes in tickborne illnesses “30 years ago, ticks were limited to central, eastern Minnesota, along the border with Wisconsin. But at this point, they’ve really spread across the entire state.”

When it comes to preventing tickborne diseases, Oliver and MDH say getting daily tick checks, wearing repellent, and having awareness of deer tick habitats, like forests, are all very effective preventive measures.

“A lot of the risk of tick-borne diseases can be prevented by careful awareness,” said Oliver.

“The best thing we recommend for people to use is an EPA-registered repellent,” said Schiffman.

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