there werenít enough reasons to avoid ticks, a symptom can
develop in which a bite from a certain kind of tick causes an
allergic reaction to red meat.
from the lone star tick, across the eastern half of the United
States, can cause severe symptoms to develop after eating
mammalian meat such as pork, beef and lamb. Symptom include
hives, shortness of breath and can lead to an anaphylactic
reaction. A bite can even be fatal, according to Ronald Saff,
an allergist from Tallahassee, Fla.
said the ticks are spreading, and global warming is
contributing. Once confined to southeast and eastern states,
they are spreading northward and westward.
like nice warm environments," he said. "As the U.S.
gets warmer, we anticipate that the tick will migrate to other
at Kansas State found the species is spreading from the
eastern part of Kansas, where it was once contained, to
central and western Kansas. The College of Veterinary Medicine
reported its findings in 2016, also citing a warming climate
as a contributing factor.
species is found in Missouri, too.
one of the more common ticks," said Phil Needham, an
agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation in Cass
County. "Itís not the most prevalent tick, but they are
inflicted with the condition, an allergic reaction can develop
after just a single bite of meat.
thing about the reaction, Saff said, is that it doesnít
develop until several hours after consuming meat. That can
leave those who experience symptoms at a loss for what is
condition was discovered about a decade ago and is slowly
circulating through the medical world.
is relatively new," Saff said. "If you pick up a
medical textbook Ö you wonít find anything on (this
primary care physicians may not even be aware it exists, Saff
said, which may cause statistics of those affected to be
people a week come to Saff showing signs of the red meat
allergy caused by a tick bite.
a scary thing. This can kill people," he said.
his patients have died. The relative newness of the condition
means it is still unknown if the allergy can remain in someoneís
system for life.
Brown, who lives outside Wichita, Kan., contracted the allergy
after a bite from the lone star tick, according to The Wichita
Eagle. Before being diagnosed, she ate meat with mild symptoms
as a result.
not a tragedy, but itís an annoyance," she said.
"There are worse things that could have happened to
Stanford, an infectious disease specialist at Truman Medical
Center-Hospital Hill, said no recent cases of lone star tick
bites have been reported in the region.
Dorshow-Gordon, an epidemiologist with the Jackson County
Health Department, said tick-borne diseases are on the rise in
some Missouri counties, and officials with the state health
department will help with tick trappings to assess the number
and types of ticks in given areas.
said the red meat allergy passed by the lone star tick is so
new that health agencies still do not track it. Dorshow-Gordon
said it isnít tracked in her department.
alpha-gal allergy, as the red meat allergy is known, is
actually caused by a sugar molecule found in meat ó
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes the lone
star tick is "very aggressive." The female is
distinguished by a white dot or "lone star" for
which the species is named.
Missouri Department of Health offers a list of tips for
preventing tick bites:
light-colored long pants, long sleeves and socks treated with
Apply insect repellents with 20-50 percent DEET on skin and
Children 2 months and older, use a repellent 30 percent or
fine-tipped tweezers to grab an attached tick close to the
skin and pull straight up with a steady motion until removed
Check frequently for ticks