Tick-borne diseases are a growing problem in Minnesota, Wisconsin

More than 26,000 tick-borne disease cases in Minnesota since 2004.
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Diseases borne from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have more than tripled in the United States since 2004, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The number of cases reported in America involving diseases like dengue, Zika and Lyme, among others, has exploded from 27,388 in 2004 to 96,075 in 2016. 


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More alarming is that the number of cases erupted by about 40,000 from 2015 to 2016 alone. 

In Minnesota, ticks and mosquitoes spread thousands of diseases every year, with a whopping 26,886 disease cases involving tick bites and 1,458 mosquito-borne cases over the last 13 years. 

Minnesota ranks seventh nationally in tick cases since 2004. 

The rise in cases has the National Association of County and City Health Officials asking for more testing in an effort to better prepare authorities for the growing problem. 

The NACCH polled local health departments, mosquito control districts and other control programs and found that 84 percent say they need improvements in order to be better prepared when disease cases are reported. 

Deer ticks spread Lyme Disease, while wood ticks are less likely to carry disease, the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District in the Twin Cities says.

"Both wood ticks and deer ticks can be found in the spring and early summer, but wood ticks are generally not disease transmitters in Minnesota. Adult wood ticks have white markings and are mainly out in the spring. Adult deer ticks do not have white markings and are out in both spring and fall. Infected deer tick females can transmit disease as they feed. Male deer ticks do not transmit disease because they generally don’t feed."

Nymph deer ticks also spread Lyme Disease.  

"It's a major issue," said Mike MacLean of the MMCD. "Some of these other tick-borne diseases are also on the upswing. And that makes sense because people are just generally encountering ticks more than they used to." 

MacLean said the number of tick-born disease cases are probably 10 times more than what's actually been reported because most people don't go to the doctor when they start feeling ill after a camping trip or hike in the woods. 

Tick activity in Minnesota is very high right now, the MMCD says. 

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