Warm spring brings ticks out early across Minnesota

The early spring has brought the ticks out ahead of schedule across Minnesota, and experts are warning people to protect themselves against the diseases they carry.

The Minnesota Department of Health says anyone who goes outdoors should be alert for the blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick. Epidemiologist Elizabeth Schiffman tells Minnesota Public Radio they’re the species that transmit the majority of tick-borne diseases in the state, including Lyme disease.

Minnesota averages more than 1,500 cases of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases annually.

Although the ticks are out early, Schiffman says it appears that numbers are around normal. Still, she says, infections are generally increasing every year.

Schiffman says anyone outside in a tick-prone area should take precautions like using repellent, doing a tick check and showering.