Ticks are turning victims into vegetarians By Susie Cagle
Are you ready to never read “blood meal” the same way again?
There is now scientific confirmation of the tick-borne meat allergies we first told you about in August. From ABC News:
A bite from the lone star tick, so-called for the white spot on its back, looks innocent enough. But researchers say saliva that sneaks into the wound might trigger a reaction to meat agonizing enough to convert lifelong carnivores into wary vegetarians.
“People will eat beef and then anywhere from three to six hours later start having a reaction; anything from hives to full-blown anaphylactic shock,” said Dr. Scott Commins, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Lone star ticks are an “aggressive” species, but scientists are having a hard time proving a causal relationship between the tick bites and the meat allergies. What they do know: “blood levels of antibodies for alpha-gal, a sugar found in beef, lamb and pork, rise after a single bite from the lone star tick.” ...........(more)