PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A state Department of Health official says South Dakota residents should remember tick-borne illness this spring.

State epidemiologist Lon Kightlinger says there are cases of tick-borne diseases in South Dakota every year.

Kightlinger says the best way for people to protect themselves when they're outdoors is to check frequently for ticks and remove them quickly. Spraying clothes and exposed skin with repellant and tucking pants into socks can also help.

In 2015, the department investigated two cases each of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. That's on top of 25 cases of tularemia — the highest number in more than 30 years.

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