Oh, the irony: The tick named after a state known for its barbecue can make its victims become allergic to red meat.
The Lone Star tick was first linked to meat allergies in 2011. The co-author of that paper, Dr. Scott Commins of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, now tells The Associated Press he sees two to three cases every week. Commins thinks the allergy "does not seem to be lifelong, but the caveat is, additional tick bites bring it back."
Patients often don't understand what is happening after discovering the allergy, since they've been eating meat their entire life without incident. Louise Danzig, 63, ate a hamburger and then several hours later woke up with swollen hands that "were on fire with itching." By the time she knew she needed to call for help, her lips and tongue were swollen and she could barely speak. Georgette Simmons, 71, became ill after eating a steak. "I was itching all over, and I broke out into hives," she said. "Nothing like that had ever happened to me before."
Lone Star ticks are making their way across the United States, the AP reports, and researchers believe other types of ticks could also create meat allergies. The problem isn't just in the U.S; cases have popped up in Germany, Sweden, France, Japan, Korea, and Australia.