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Bad Bite: A Tick Can Make You Allergic to Red Meat

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 1:27pm
Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press

               In this Aug. 1, 2014 photo, Louise Danzig, of Montauk, N.Y., stands in a field in East Hampton, N.Y., that is home to deer that may carry ticks that cause people to develop allergic reactions to red meat. Danzig landed in the hospital last summer after a tick bite caused her to go into anaphylactic shock from eating a hamburger. (AP Photo/Rachelle Blidner)

A tick bite might make you a vegetarian, or at least make you swear off red meat.

Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by Lone Star ticks, which are found in the Southwest and eastern half of the U.S.

This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread to more areas. Eating a burger or steak landed some people in the hospital.

The bugs harbor a type of sugar humans don't have but that is found in red meat. The tick bite conveys the sugar to the bloodstream, and the immune system can go overboard reacting to the foreign substance.

Doctors say the allergy is one more reason to avoid ticks.

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