There’s A Tick That Makes You Allergic To Red Meat — And It’s Spreading

Do you like burgers? Then watch out for ticks with a white splotch on their backs.

Red meat is among the world’s guiltiest pleasures. Outside of the health issues it creates, it takes roughly 1,800 gallons of water just to cultivate a single pound of beef. I’m an unabashed carnivore and I still feel bad sometimes when I sink into a juicy T-bone.

However, it looks like a single bug is doing what it can to keep cows off the dinner plate.

This is the Lone Star Tick:

Lone Star Ticks can be identified by the white spot on their backs. Joesboy/Getty

According to Business Insider, this little bugger is responsible for a growing wave of beef allergies across the Southeastern and Midwestern parts of the country. It’s also been reported as north as New Hampshire.

We don’t know a whole lot about this tick’s abilities, but we do know its bite can cause something called an alpha-galactose allergy. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, an alpha-galactose allergy can be directly linked back to a bite from a tick like the Lone Star Tick.

It’s important to know that the reaction isn’t immediate. You can get bitten by a tick, eat red meat and it will still take hours for the allergic reaction to kick in. It’s often hard for people to figure out what exactly made them sick.

However, this reaction is by no means tame. The National Center for Biotechnology Information says that it can result in death if the patient isn’t properly treated.

We may still be learning about the Lone Star Tick, but I know two things for certain: I love red meat and I’m going to be staying out of tall grass for awhile.