Updated: 05/20/2014 7:20 PM
Created: 05/20/2014 10:46 AM KSTP.com
By: Megan Stewart
The cold, snowy winter did nothing to slow the population of ticks, including those carrying diseases, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Minnesotans should be cautious in the coming weeks, health officials said.
In 2013, a record number of Lyme disease cases were reported. Health officials said 1,431 cases of Lyme and nearly 700 cases of other tick-borne diseases were reported last year.
Ticks were likely shielded from the cold temperatures by the deep snow in wooded and brushy areas where ticks are found, according to David Neitzel, a tick specialist with MDH.
Neitzel said the MDH is finding a large number of adult blacklegged ticks in central and southeastern Minnesota field study locations and they expect immature nymph stage ticks to become active soon.
The highest risk for exposure to these dangerous pests is mid-may through Mid-July, especially the smaller ones that are hard to see, officials said.
Health officials gave the following tips to protect against ticks: