In this undated file photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick, rests on a plant. The extended winter of 2017-2018 on the East Coast doesn't seem to have done much to impact ticks, whose numbers are expect to be similar to last year. Credit: CDC via AP

CONCORD, N.H. — New England hikers and dog lovers may be thinking the subzero winter temperatures will put a dent in this year’s tick population. But think again.

Experts who study the pesky bloodsuckers say the persistent snow cover ensures the ticks will be a headache this spring and summer. They were under a blanket of protected snow.

[In the battle against ticks and Lyme disease, scientists look to the skies]

With increased tick numbers in the past decade, there has been growth in related diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the number of Lyme disease cases transmitted by blacklegged ticks has increased 30 percent from a decade ago.

Health officials are already urging anyone spending time outdoors to take precautions.

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