Disease & Illness

Here’s Why You Might Be Seeing Photos Of Poppy Seed Pastries Lately

Eek! The reason is actually kind of gross, but it's definitely a clever way to drive awareness.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted pictures of a poppyseed muffin to their Twitter page.

You might have spotted the photos somewhere on one of your social feeds and wondered what they were all about.

Well, the CDC wasn’t bragging about a delicious new recipe, but rather, challenging its Twitter followers to see if they could find the ticks on the poppyseed muffin.

Yes, really.

Um, that is terrifying. Can you spot all five?

Jokes aside, the tweet was meant to help spread awareness about the start of tick season. Tick populations have exploded in recent years. Not only does this mean that ticks are getting worse in areas where they have commonly been found, but that they are also expanding into new parts of the country where they typically did not reside.

“Clearly ticks are expanding farther north. [W]e’re finding a lot of tick species moving into new areas. And a lot of that has to do potentially with climate change [and] animal husbandry practices if we’re cutting forests or recreating grasslands,” says Dr. Janet Foley, a professor and researcher at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California Davis.

Dr. Foley concludes: “So as a whole ticks themselves are really becoming an emerging problem, not that they always weren’t anyway, but they are getting worse.”

One of the major concerns with ticks is that they can spread Lyme Disease, which is the fastest-growing vector-borne infectious disease in the United States, according to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. In fact, cases of Lyme Disease have increased 25-fold since 1982, and the CDC says that Lyme Disease impacts 300,000 more people per year than we previously realized.

RELATED: Diseases Caused By Tick And Mosquito Bites Have More Than Tripled Since 2004

Lyle R. Petersen, director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, says there’s a need for greater education about ticks.

“We know people can prevent tick bites through steps like using repellents and tick checks,” Petersen said in a news release. “Although these measures are effective, they aren’t fail-proof and people don’t always use them. We need to move to a broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem.”

Hence, the reasoning behind the CDC tweeting that creepy picture of a bunch of ticks sitting on top of a delicious muffin! They wanted their followers to see that ticks can be very easily missed, so you have to be extra careful when examining your pets, children and yourself after a day outside.

Though the CDC’s intentions were good, people were kind of freaking out about the tweet.

And others say they can’t enjoy poppyseed muffins anymore:

While some just say the CDC took it way too far:

But, the CDC does have a sense of humor, and they tweeted a funny follow-up to their poppyseed muffin pic.

“Sorry we ticked some of you off!” Well played, CDC. Well played.