Experts say ticks are on the rise in southeast Wisconsin

KENOSHA (WITI) -- They can be as small as a pinhead, but they can cause serious health problems. Experts now say this year, ticks are especially bad.

"I don't think I got a call last year. This year, I've probably had probably a dozen calls already," says Kenosha County Environmental Manager Mark Melotik.

Melotik says ticks are an issue this year due to the rainy and cooler weather.

But the increase in the tick population has been a growing trend.

"From 1997 - 1999 there were 536 confirmed cases of Lyme Disease in the state of Wisconsin and from 2008-2011 it's 3,250," says Melotik.

That's an increase of six times the number of cases within just a few years.

Melotik says officials are unsure why this number has grown so dramatically, but he emphasizes the importance of protecting yourself when spending time in wooded areas.

"Wear long pants and tuck them into your socks to prevent the ticks from getting on you and climbing by your feet and that and make sure you wear insect repellent," says Melotik.

If you find a tick on yourself, remove it as quickly as possible.

"The best thing to do is get a tweezers and get it nice and close to the skin and gently but firmly pull it straight upward and outward, says Melotik.

The longer the tick is on you, the greater your chances of contracting Lyme Disease.