The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention got a little creative with their warning tactics on Twitter recently. They posted two photos of a poppyseed muffin, one seen from a slight distance and the other zoomed in. It was posted with the horrifying caption, “Ticks can be the size of a poppy seed. Can you spot all 5 ticks in this photo?”
If you’re daring enough to click on the zoomed-in photo and squint really closely, you’ll see them: five bloodsucking arachnids, lounging on the surface of what could have been breakfast.
The CDC hoped that the photos would draw attention to their link to tick prevention tactics, posted in response to a growing prevalence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. The organization warns that these illnesses are on the rise and that from May through July, people in the United States will get more tick bites and tick-borne diseases than any other time of year.
However, their post may have been less effective at getting people to prevent tick bites and more effective at deterring people from eating poppyseed muffins. Some Twitter users even referred to the tactic as “the CDC’s muffin-prevention movement.”
“Poppyseeds will never crunch quite the same again,” lamented @urwalder.
Some users simply replied exclamations like “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” or “Omg why.” But, in typical Twitter fashion, many turned to humor to cope with their revulsion.
“Potlucks at the CDC must be a hoot,” jabbed one user.
“Can't get tick bites if you're biting them,” concluded another.
The CDC has now received nearly a thousand replies from disturbed readers, issuing this simple response in a tweet: “Sorry we ticked some of you off! Don't let a tick bite ruin your summer. Protect yourself.”
If you’re too disturbed to eat a poppyseed muffin ever again, here are 16 recipes for muffins that don’t in any way resemble a disease-ridden pest.