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Tick-borne anaplasmosis on the rise in northern NY

Jun 05, 2020 5:30 am
Gwendolyn Craig and the Adirondack Explorer are reporting for the Times Union anaplasmosis, a tick-borne illness with symptoms similar to COVID-19, is on the rise in the Adirondacks and upstate New York. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches and even respiratory failure, all similar signs of the infectious COVID-19 disease that has killed more than 100,000 people nationwide this year. Anaplasmosis, if left untreated, can also be fatal. The carriers are usually the Ixodes scapularis, commonly known as the deer tick or black-legged tick. “It’s a little challenging to cut through COVID news,” said Byron Backenson, deputy director of the state Health Department’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Control. He and other officials are now reminding healthcare providers about tick-borne illnesses, something that may easily be forgotten with coronavirus on everyone’s minds. Backenson said cases of anaplasmosis are increasing, especially in Washington, Warren, Saratoga and Rensselaer counties. Fortunately, the test for anaplasmosis is easy and the disease is often treated with antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Ticks are a problem from late May through early July, when baby ticks are out because they are about the size of a poppy seed and difficult to see. Read the full story in the Times Union.