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CDC Raises Lyme Disease Awareness With Disturbing Photo Of Poppy Seed Muffin Topped With Ticks

May 10, 2018 01:08 AM EDT
CDC demonstrates how difficult it is to identify ticks from poppy seed muffins, but the agency had to follow up with an apology for ruining poppy seed muffins for their Twitter followers.
(Photo : Alexander Hassenstein | Bongarts/Getty Images)

This Lyme Disease Awareness Month, ask yourself: how well can you spot ticks from a smattering of poppy seeds on a muffin?

It's harder than one would think, but the little game definitely highlights how sneaky ticks can be and how easily one can get bitten by these parasites.

Black-legged ticks transmit Lyme disease to humans and are especially notorious during the summer months.

Ticks, Poppy Seeds Invade Twitter

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention presented the challenge on Twitter, saying that a tick is roughly the size of a poppy seed.

"Can you spot all 5 ticks in this photo?" the agency wrote on Twitter, posting two photos of a muffin topped with poppy seeds. Among the many seeds are five ticks, which are visible when one zooms in the image.  It's an interesting challenge but one that inadvertently turned off CDC's followers from poppy seeds.  Several Twitter users slammed the organization for their tricky method that's quite disgusting.  

"You just ruined poppy seed muffin sales for the summer," one user responds to the tweet.

"What would make the CDC think this was the best way to get the message out about ticks?" another laments.

"My tax money should have hired people that can make a difference, have good judgement and marketing skills. You're fired for ruining companies & job loss that offered good muffins. Own it!" Even acclaimed American Gods writer Neil Gaiman chimes in.

In response, the agency issued a cheeky apology.

"Sorry we ticked some of you off!" CDC quips on Twitter.

Tick Protection

Poppy seeds aside, the bottom line is that the summer months will usher in a season that presents a greater danger for Lyme disease.

CDC estimates 300,000 Lyme disease infections in the United States every year, particularly in certain states: New England, the mid-Atlantic, and the upper Midwest. Woody and grassy areas should be avoided.

For those who live in high-risk areas, daily tick checks for both humans and pets are necessary as well as tick repellants. People who are often outdoors should also steer clear of walking through tall grass and bushes.

If you find a tick on your person, remove it carefully with tweezers. Ticks often need to be attached 24 hours or so to pass on Lyme disease, so early detection is crucial.

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