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Tick activity continuing to increase in Minnesota

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Tick nymphs
Blacklegged tick nymphs crawl around in a test tube at an entomology lab at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. The ticks, which were sped up in the editing process to emphasize movement, are commonly referred to as deer ticks.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News

This year's tick season got off to a slow start in Minnesota. But officials say that after some rain and warmth, activity is picking up and should continue into July. 

Epidemiologist Dave Neitzel with the Minnesota Department of Health said changes in weather conditions should serve as a reminder that precautions are necessary.

"We've had some moisture inputs, and a little bit of warmth now, so we expect the ticks to be coming out even in higher numbers than they have been in recent weeks," he said.

Neitzel said central Minnesota appears to be the most active part of the state right now for tick activity.

Neitzel said that in addition to residents making sure they are free of ticks after venturing outside, pets should not be overlooked.

"American dog ticks, which most people call wood ticks — they're out in abundance now and getting on to not only people, but their pets," he said. "They're super-abundant across most of the state and there's no shortage of them at the moment."

Earlier this spring, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reported that between 2004 and 2016, Minnesota had nearly 27,000 confirmed cases of tick-borne infections. That's seventh-highest in the nation.