WARREN COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – When you’re out in the woods this summer, take extra caution to brush off any hitchhikers on your clothes.

Warren County’s Department of Health Services is warning the public about a large increase in anaplasmosis, a disease carried by ticks that is on the rise within the county.

The department has seen 40 cases of the disease this year, compared to only nine the year before. The number is twice as high as 2018 and 2019 combined.

“This dramatic increase is concerning, as anaplasmosis can cause serious illness if not diagnosed properly and treated promptly,” said Health Services Director Ginelle Jones. “The increased presence of this disease is yet another reason to be vigilant about taking precautions to avoid tick bites.”

Anaplasmosis has been found in some to create more serious issues than Lyme Disease, and the county said that several local cases have resulted in hospitalization.

Cases have caused respiratory issues, bleeding, organ failure and death in some cases, and especially threatens seniors and immunocompromised individuals.

The disease stems from bacteria transmitted by infected ticks upon biting, and early signs and symptoms typically manifest between 1 and 5 days after a bite.

Those symptoms can include fever, chills, severe headache and muscle ache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and appetite loss.

Anyone with those symptoms following a tick bite is urged to call their doctor.

Methods of preventing contact with ticks include wearing permethrin-treated clothing, using insect repellent, wearing light-colored clothing, tucking pants into socks, staying within the middle of trails while hiking, performing body and clothing checks after time outdoors, and showering.

“The same methods we have used to combat Lyme Disease and other tickborne illnesses, such as wearing proper clothing, use of insecticides and efforts to thoroughly check for ticks after being outside, can help us avoid anaplasmosis,” said Jones.