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Tick Uptick Raises Tick Risk Meter To High

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - The early spring has been nice to get out in, but officials say it could mean an increase in Lyme Disease cases this year.

Once the temperature hits 40 degrees, deer ticks start to move.

There have been reports of people finding the ticks already, weeks before they would normally be out.

And on Friday, the first day of spring, the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District raised its "tick risk meter" from medium to high.

Vanessa Glatt has been taking her dog Missy to the dog park about once a week in the mild spring weather.

"I think checking frequently and knowing the risk is pretty helpful," she said.

In fact, a tick specialist from the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District posted a picture of four deer ticks she pulled off her dog.

She wrote she was "a little surprised to find so many this early, especially with temperatures on the low end of questing activity."

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(credit: CBS)

Mike McLean, communications coordinator for the mosquito control district, said once temperatures hit 40 degrees consistently, ticks that carry Lyme Disease start looking for their next meal.

"The Lyme bacterium can affect dogs as well as people and a lot of other creatures can get it," he said.

And an early spring can set the tone for the summer. With ticks out already, McLean said to expect them to be very active over the coming months.

With an uptick in Lyme Disease cases over the past couple years, that becomes a concern. Harsh winters usually help kill off pests that help carry Lyme Disease. That wasn't the case this year.

"You get a couple of really nice, mild winters in a row, and it seems like the tick activity just increases," McLean said. "That's when we are a little more susceptible to Lyme Disease here."

If a deer tick does latch on to you or your pet, it has to stay attached for 24 to 48 hours before you can contract Lyme Disease. So check yourself thoroughly after going in the woods.

(credit: Metropolitan Mosquito Control District)


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