Do you remember when we were kids and we'd play outside for hours without a care in the world? We'd climb trees, roll down hills, and go on barefoot explorations through the woods.

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When we were done playing and nice and dirty, our parents would have us wash our hands and then sit down to eat dinner around the table while sharing stories of our adventures. How things have changed.

I'm the mom of a little boy who is encouraged to get dirty and walk barefoot and roll around in the grass...but not before I've covered him head to toe in bug spray and as soon as he'd done playing, my son has to strip off all his clothes, shower, and then let me check him for ticks.

Overprotective? You bet. However, as someone who battled Lyme disease, I have no shame in saying that I will always check my child after he's been playing outside. Always. I never, ever want my boy to go through the nightmare that I did.

For someone like me who is already scared of ticks, this doesn't bode well. According to the Tick-Borne Disease Center at Binghamton University, an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent of ticks carry Lyme disease. But there's a new tick-borne illness that has emerged in recent years and researchers say that it is rarer than Lyme. Oh, and it's on the rise in New York.

The more-rare-than-Lyme tick-borne disease is called anaplasmosis and health officials statewide warn that it's on the rise. Symptoms of anaplasmosis include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, confusion, facial paralysis, vomiting, and more. Symptoms have a tendency to show up anywhere from five to 21 days after receiving a tick bite and this is where it gets scary: unlike Lyme, anaplasmosis doesn't normally come with a rash so a lot of times, people don't even know they're infected with it. If not detected and treated quickly enough, anaplasmosis can be fatal.

The rise of cases of anaplasmosis in Broome County might be small but it is definitely growing, a trend we don't want to see. In Broome County in 2014, there were a grand total of zero reported cases of anaplasmosis. In 2020, there were 20 cases reported and at the end of July 2021, there were 46 reported cases of anaplasmosis, 21 of those cases occurring in the month of July.

Keep in mind this number was released just six months into the year which raises the question of whether or not more cases will be reported in the coming months.

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