The ‘lone star’ tick that makes you allergic to meat is spreading
Posted June 23
If you haven’t already heard about the Lone Star tick, it’s time to get educated. Instead of spreading Lyme disease, this specific type of tick bite can cause a severe allergy to meat. And, unfortunately for carnivores across the country, it seems to be spreading.
Symptoms from this tick bite include hives and difficulty breathing after eating red meat, pork and occasionally poultry. An anaphylactic response is also possible, although less common. And the scary thing is, these reactions can occur anywhere from three to 10 or 12 hours after eating meat. So it’s often hard to pin down the tick bite as the source of this new allergy. For comparison, a typical allergic response to food only takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
Lone Star Ticks On The Move
The ticks originate from southeastern states, but doctors say it’s spreading. The allergy is too new to require states to report it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, Dr. Ronald Saff, an allergist in Tallahassee, Florida told Insider he now sees multiple patients a week who have the Lone Star insect bite and developed the meat allergy.
The Lone Star tick has also started spreading up the East Coast and into the Midwest. Reports of the allergy-causing tick have been reported all the way up in Maine. And over the course of the last year, 100 new cases occurred in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Long Island, New York.
Scientists at the University of Virginia launched a research study about this condition. The team updates the number of new allergy diagnoses regularly to track the insects’ spread. They also want to if other tick species could carry the disease.
Lone Star ticks have increased in distribution, range, and abundance over the past 20 to 30 years, according to the CDC. And increasingly hot summers could make that situation even worse.
“We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northward and westward and cause more problems than they’re already causing,” Saff told Insider.
While nothing can completely protect us from getting bit, you can follow a few basic tips to stay safer during the summer months.