NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As many of us get out of lockdown and into nature, there is a good reason to be careful outside.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has more in his latest Max Minute report.

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OK, you’re really, really tired of being cooped up inside during the coronavirus pandemic and now that the weather is warm and we’re slowly opening up you want to get outside, maybe enjoy nature. Then a few days later you develop a fever, severe headache, muscle aches and even some nasty stomach issues. Oh, no. it’s COVID-19? Maybe not, and that’s the problem.


COVID-19 symptoms, at least at the beginning, are very similar to a number of other diseases, from the flu to Kawasaki disease. And as it turns out, a tick-borne disease increasing in numbers is in New York state.

It’s called anaplasmosis and you get it from a tick bite, the same deer tick that can transmit Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, both of which also have similar symptoms as anaplasmosis.

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The good news is that the antibiotic doxycycline is an effective treatment against all three bacterial diseases.

The bad news is that because anaplasmosis symptoms are similar to COVID-19, doctors may have a hard time distinguishing between the diseases. And while anaplasmosis is not common — about 1,000 cases a year in New York — it is on the rise, especially in the Adirondacks and the northeast part of the state, where a recent survey found that 20% of ticks tested carried the anaplasmosis bacterium.

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So if you’ve been walking in grassy, brushy or wooded areas and start to develop a fever, severe headache and muscle pains, even if you never saw a tick or tick bite, mention anaplasmosis to your doctor. It’s serious, but more treatable than COVID-19.

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