Tick spreading in the US gives people meat allergies 


A bite from the aggressive Lone Star tick could do more than give you an irritable rash — it could potentially induce a dangerous meat allergy.

» RELATED: How to prevent, find and get rid of ticks this summer 

The tick, widely distributed in the southeastern and eastern United States, is spreading to even more areas, including Minnesota, New Hampshire and Long Island, New York, and is making people allergic to just a single bite of meat.

According to Wired.com, something in the tick bite makes people sensitive to the sugar compound alpha-galactose, or alpha-gal, found in meat from mammals.

» RELATED: What is Lyme disease and how to avoid it 

And unlike most allergies, which are dependent on a mix of genetic and environmental factors, alpha-gal allergies seem to affect anyone and everyone, regardless of genetic makeup, Wired reported.

» RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals

Some bite victims will experience a hive-like rash or a dangerous anaphylactic reaction about four hours after eating meat. 

» RELATED: WATCH: Young girl left temporarily paralyzed illustrates dangers of tick bites

Such allergies are still incredibly rare and the government hasn’t issued any health warnings yet, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the distribution, range and abundance of the Lone Star tick has increased steadily in the past 20 to 30 years.

» RELATED: Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals 
“We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northwards and westward and cause more problems than they’re already causing,” Ronald Staff, allergist and clinical professor of medicine, told Business Insider.

» RELATED: Girl dies from possible tick bite

Saff said he's now seeing patients every week who have been bitten by ticks and developed the meat allergy.

The best thing to do while scientists continue research to track and understand the species is to try to prevent tick bites overall.

» RELATED: Woman loses arms, legs after tick bite 

The CDC recommends avoiding tick habitats, using insect repellents with DEET or permethrin and actively checking for ticks after you’ve been outdoors.

Click here to read more on tick prevention and removal tips.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation & World

Pittsburgh hospital employee accused of exposing himself to patient
Pittsburgh hospital employee accused of exposing himself to patient

A food server at a Pittsburgh hospital is accused of exposing himself in front of a patient.  Police said Michael Booker, 37, a dietary server at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Mercy, approached the female patient at the walking bridge that joins the parking garage and the hospital.  WPXI reported that the woman told investigators...
Student Snapchatted high-speed police chase that exceed 100 mph
Student Snapchatted high-speed police chase that exceed 100 mph

A University of Georgia student was arrested early Thursday morning after a high-speed chase in Athens. According to police, Hunter Ty Wilkerson, 19, reached speeds of 110 mph during the chase before he was eventually taken into custody. They said he was speeding because he had just stolen five traffic signs off the UGA campus. Athens-Clarke County...
Airbags like ‘grenade’ in car, but fewer than half fixed, report says
Airbags like ‘grenade’ in car, but fewer than half fixed, report says

Years into the largest and most complex vehicle recall in U.S. history, fewer than half of recalled Takata airbag inflators are fixed. The overall repair rate for driver and passenger airbags stands at about 46.8 percent, a government website shows. The most critical warnings involve certain 2001 to 2003 Honda and Acura models, and the risks...
Girl Scouts say not to force your kids to hug relatives this holiday season
Girl Scouts say not to force your kids to hug relatives this holiday season

A parenting story on the Girl Scouts of the United States of America website is discouraging parents from forcing their daughters to hug relatives at holiday gatherings -- and any time during the year. Titled, “Reminder: She Doesn’t Owe Anyone a Hug. Not Even at the Holidays,” the Nov. 2 article says encouraging young girls to...
Father stabbed to death defending young son from sneaker-stealing teens
Father stabbed to death defending young son from sneaker-stealing teens

A New Jersey man was stabbed to death in his home Tuesday night when he tried to defend his 8-year-old son from a group of teens trying to steal the boy’s sneakers, according to family. Jose “Migue” Malave, 30, of Jersey City, was stabbed around 7 p.m. at his home, according to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. He...
More Stories