Lone Star Tick Bite causing Deadly Allergy to Meat

Lone Star Tick Bite causing Deadly Allergy to Meat

You might want to think twice before venturing outside this summer, particularly if you live in the Southeast. An increasing number of allergic reactions are being reported as a result of a tick bite called the Lone Star tick. The number of instances is expected to rise as summer temperatures start to heat up.

According to PBS.org, “The Lone Star tick is a medium-sized, reddish-brown tick that’s common in the Southeastern United States. It gets its name from a white dot found on the backs of all female adults. Nymphs are the size of a lower-case “o” in newspaper print, expanding to the size of a zero when fully engorged, said Phillip Kaufman, associate professor and entomologist at the University of Florida. Adults are the size of a capital “C,” but engorged, can swell as large as a raisin.”

It is believed that these ticks carry a particular sugar in their gut called “Alpha-Gal.”

Alpha-Gal is also found in red meat, therefore, a bite by the Lone Star tick may cause an allergic reaction to meats like hamburger, bacon, or steak.

The most common symptoms associated with the tick bite are hives and itching, however, in more severe cases it can lead to anaphylactic shock.

Anaphylactic shock is swelling of the airways that can lead to death.

Watch this video from NBC Nightly News for full coverage of this story.