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Tick-Borne Infections Can Resemble Same Symptoms As COVID-19

A tick-borne infection has similar symptoms to COVID-19.
A tick-borne infection has similar symptoms to COVID-19. Photo Credit: File

With all eyes on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, a tick-borne disease with similar symptoms has quietly been on the rise throughout the region.

As states open up their economies and more people are stretching their legs with “stay at home” orders being lifted, there has been an uptick in anaplasmosis, a tick-borne disease that carries similar symptoms to the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with anaplasmosis will often suffer from fevers, headaches, chills, and muscle aches, much like COVID-19 patients.

If anaplasmosis persists into later stages, patients could potentially see respiratory failure, bleeding problems, organ failure, or death, similar to COVID.

Unlike COVID-19, however, anaplasmosis is easily treated by doxycycline.

“That’s one that’s really on the rise, particularly in the northeastern part of New York,” Byron Backenson, deputy director of the state Health Department’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Control, said to Adirondack Explorer.

“There are areas of the state where we see ticks that are much more infected with the bacteria that cause anaplasmosis.”

Ticks are typically found outdoors, in wooded or grassy areas at ground level, according to the New York Department of Health. The insects cling to tall grass, brush, and shrubs and also live in lawns and gardens, especially at the edges of woods and around old stone walls.

The number of anaplasmosis cases reported to CDC has increased steadily since the disease became reportable, from 348 cases in 2000, to a peak of 5,762 in 2017. However, cases reported in 2018 and 2019 were substantially lower.

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