KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A new study suggests that the lone star tick might be to blame for a rare allergy to red meat, according to news reports.
The meat allergy produces a rash between four and six hours after consuming meat. The rash is caused by antibodies to alpha-gal, a carbohydrate found in red meat such as beef, lamb and pork. However, presence of the antibody does not guarantee an allergic response, which can range from hives to anaphylactic shock. However, the reaction subsides within a few months and an infected person is able to resume eating meat, according to news reports.
The lone star tick is commonly found in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. However, research has shown that the tick's habitat is spreading due to surging populations of deer which carry the pest. The tick is aggressive in that the larva, nymph and adults will bite people, according to the Centers for Disease Control web site.
"Tick-borne illness may be prevented by avoiding tick habitat (dense woods and brushy areas), using insect repellents containing DEET or permethrin, wearing long pants and socks, and performing tick checks and promptly removing ticks after outdoor activity," the web site states.