Mosquitoes get the attention, but experts warn of ticks over Memorial Day weekend

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MINNEAPOLIS (KARE 11) — New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show insect-related illness has tripled over the past 15 years.

Between 2004 and 2016, more than 640,000 Americans were sickened by mosquitoes, ticks and flees.

During that time period, researchers also discovered nine new germs that can be transmitted to humans by insects.

The most commonly contracted diseases include Lyme Disease, West Nile, Zika and dengue.

In North Dakota and Minnesota, mosquitoes get most of the attention, but experts say you should be more worried about ticks this Memorial Day weekend.

“This is kind of peak tick season right now,” Metropolitan Mosquito Control District (MMCD) spokesman Mike McLean says.

Ticks will be out in full force this holiday weekend.

Bug experts say the long winter slowed them down a bit, but they’re now emerging in droves from their snowy slumber.

“What the statistics have shown over the years is an increase in Lyme Disease transmission,” McLean says.

That increase in Lyme Disease transmission isn’t just because bug experts are seeing more ticks.

McLean says the ticks his staff have tested in recent years show a higher rate of carrying Lyme Disease.

“People tend to ignore it,” McLean says. “If they go out in the woods, they’ve been camping, they don’t feel so hot, they get over it.”

But the threat has become too serious to ignore, McLean says.

McLean says mosquitoes won’t be out in full force until July and August.

But with ticks, the threat is here now, and that is why health officials encourage people who are heading to the lakes, or to the woods this weekend, to dress for ticks and wear repellent.

“Make sure you wear something that has permethrin in it,” McLean says.

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