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Ticks and mosquitoes in a changing climate

When talking to residents, employees, and other partners during the development of the Climate Action Plan, nothing got people's attention faster than mentioning an increase in ticks and mosquitoes. Not only are these pests annoying to Minnesotans looking to enjoy a short summer season in our great outdoors, but these pests can cause serious diseases in people and pets. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), climate is one of many important interacting variables that affect people’s risk for vector-borne diseases. MDH expect the distributions of ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects to change as a result of warmer and wetter conditions, and increased transmission is expected with West Nile Virus, La Crosse Encephalitis, and Lyme disease.

Understanding how Minnesota’s changing climate may alter vector-borne disease risks currently and into the future is important work for public health agencies.

The Climate Action Plan calls for collecting data and monitoring climate risks to public health, including changes in vector-borne diseases. Staff will also improve education and communication to promote awareness, personal action, and best practices.

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