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Lone Star tick could prove a scourge to meat-lovers everywhere

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A meat-lovers sickness is sweeping across the nation. The Lone Star tick is currently making it's way out of the Eastern, Southeastern, and Southcentral states and its victims are suffering a fate close to death. The symptoms aren't headaches or diarrhea, no achiness or vomiting. It's worse. Victims bitten by the Lone Star tick have been hit with a sudden allergy to meat. Even products like a Twinkie, which contain beef fat can start an allergic reaction.

The Lone Star tick, Amblyomma americanum (the scientific name), is mostly found in forest areas, in tall grass areas, or chasing after large animals. Tick experts say April through September is when ticks are actively seeking large animals, and humans. According to Tick Encounter, the female tick can produce 2,500-3,000 eggs and the “larvae do not carry disease,” only the immature adult and adult ticks can carry disease.

Some people who have been bitten by the tick and later sat down to eat a burger or steak would soon find themselves heading to the emergency room because they were having severe allergic reactions. Doctors said, “the tick carries an allergen that lines its GI tract, so when it bites you a small amount of the allergen is introduced into the bloodstream.”

So far, 200 cases have been reported, and of those 30 were children. Since most doctors are not aware of the symptoms related to this tick numbers could be higher. Different ticks carrying the same allergen have also been reported in other countries as well.

Louis Danzig, told NBC Channel 4, that within in hours of eating a burger her hands were “swollen and were on fire with itching. I could feel my lips and tongue were getting swollen.” Danzig said she barely had enough airway left to call for help.

Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Amesh Adalja, said every person’s body will react differently to the Lone Star tick bite, and so it’s hard for doctors to tell a patient how long they may need to stop eating “all red meats.” He did say some patients may not have the allergy very long, and it could “resolve” itself on its own. Dr. Adalja said a good piece of advice is to “avoid more tick bites,” because it could prolong the allergen.

Ticks are very well known to cause Lyme Disease with approximately 30,000 cases reported each year, but they also carry other life threatening transmissions: ehrlichiosis and the potentially deadly tularemia.

Symptoms of tick bite that causes the meat allergy typically occur within 30 days, and most experience hives, rashes, and anaphylaxis. Doctors familiar with the Lone Star tick allergen are telling folks who live in heavily tick populated areas, to wear long sleeve shirts, pants, and to check your body after being outdoors.

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