One of the most recent tickborne illness discoveries comes from the bite of a Lone Star tick (found throughout the eastern, southeastern, and south-central parts of the United States). It seems as though a bite from this tick can lead to an allergy to red meats; hospitals have seen more and more cases pass through recently, from mild to severe.
In an article by Today, Dr. Robert Valet, assistant professor of allergy and immunology at Vanderbilt University, says, “Classically three to six hours after eating red meat [a person with the allergy] can get with hives, swelling and problems breathing. They may even have a full anaphylactic reaction in which their airways close.”
The cause for the allergy is said to be from a type of sugar that the tick passes along to a person. The person’s immune system treats it like an invader and forms antibodies against it. Since many red meats have this same type of sugar in them, the affected person will show signs of allergies to the meat once it’s eaten. This allergy can resolve itself or can last for an unknown amount of time.
If you’re bit by a Lone Star tick, look for symptoms like fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, a circular rash, and/or swollen glands within 30 days of the bite. If any of these symptoms appear, see a doctor immediately.
In addition to red meat allergies, Lone Star ticks can cause illnesses like Ehrlichiosis, the Heartland Virus, STARI (Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness), and Tularemia.
Other tickborne illnesses include:
Anaplasmosis: Transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from Deer ticks in the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick along the Pacific coast.
Babesiosis: Caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Most human cases of babesiosis in the U.S. are caused by Babesia microti, transmitted by Deer ticks and found primarily in the northeast and upper midwest.
Borrelia Miyamotoi: An infection that has recently been described as a cause of illness in the U.S. It is transmitted by Deer ticks and has a range similar to that of Lyme disease.
Colorado Tick Fever: Caused by a virus transmitted by the Rocky Mountain wood tick. It occurs in the the Rocky Mountain states at elevations of 4,000 to 10,500 feet.
Lyme Disease: Transmitted by Deer ticks in the northeastern U.S. and upper midwestern U.S., and the western blacklegged tick along the Pacific coast.
Powassan Disease: Transmitted by Deer ticks and groundhog ticks. Cases have been reported primarily from northeastern states and the Great Lakes region.
Rickettsiosis: Transmitted to humans by Gulf Coast ticks.
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Transmitted by American dog ticks, Rocky Mountain wood ticks, and brown dog ticks in the U.S. The brown dog tick and other tick species are associated with RMSF in Central and South America.
Tickborne Relapsing Fever: Transmitted to humans through the bite of infected soft ticks. TBRF has been reported in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and is associated with sleeping in rustic cabins and vacation homes.
Tularemia: Transmitted to humans by dog ticks, wood ticks, and Lone Star ticks. Tularemia occurs throughout the U.S.
*Photo courtesy of Wikipedia