CDC apologizes after 'gross' poppy seed muffin post about ticks goes viral

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may have just ruined poppy seed muffins for the internet after replacing the seeds with tiny ticks in a photo the organization posted on Twitter.

At first glance, a photo shared by the CDC appeared to be a delicious muffin. But in another zoomed-in photo attached to the post, the health organization replaced the poppy seeds with tiny bugs.

"Ticks can be the size of a poppy seed. Can you spot all 5 ticks in this photo? Learn how to prevent tick bites," the CDC tweeted on May 4, linking to an article on tick prevention on its website.

The article explains how to avoid ticks by using repellant, avoiding wooded areas and provided instructions on how to wash your clothes after spending a day outside. While the tips may be helpful, some Twitter users didn't enjoy the "gross" imagery used by the site to capture their attention.

The tweet went viral with more than 1,500 retweets and the group received dozens of responses from users — some of whom claimed the post ruined the treat for them.

"Ugh I will never be able to eat poppy seed again," one Twitter user complained.

"Staying away from them both after this tbh," another wrote.

"They did not need to implicate the muffin to make their point," one user argued.

"Wow, the CDC’s muffin-prevention movement is effective," one woman added.

The CDC heard the complaints, replying three days later, on May 7: "Sorry we ticked some of you off! Don't let a tick bite ruin your summer. Protect yourself."

Again, the CDC linked to a post on its website about tick prevention. All jokes aside, health officials say it's important to remain aware of the risks.

The number of illnesses caused by infected mosquitoes, ticks or fleas tripled from 2004 through 2016, according to a recent report released by the CDC. On average, 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the health agency each year.

Some Twitter users thanked the CDC for raising awareness.

"Important issue," one user wrote.

"They just want to give you an idea of just how small they are, nothing to do with eating them!" another explained to a confused follower.