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Turkey Hunters Beware: Lone Star Ticks Can Cause Meat Allergy

lone star tickABC News is reporting a rash of meat allergies on the East Coast and the Bible Belt, and the culprit is familiar to turkey hunters: the lone star tick.

Scientists say saliva from a bite from the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) can trigger a severe allergy to red meat. Victims will consume red meat and then three to six hours later develop reactions ranging from hives to anaphylactic shock. About 400 cases have been reported.

Researchers said blood levels of antibodies for alpha-gal, a sugar in red meat, lamb and pork, can arise after one bite from a lone star tick. Experiments that combine tick saliva with the invisible antibodies hope to prove the two are directly connected.

Read the full ABC News story here.

Lone star ticks, which can be identified by a pronounced white dot or star on their backs, are extremely common in the eastern and southern United States, from Maine to Iowa to Texas. Like most ticks, they’re especially abundant in wooded areas.





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