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Beware Of The Lone Star Tick

Last updated on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(WEST LAFAYETTE) - There’s a type of tick in Indiana that could make you allergic to meat.

It's called the lone star tick and Purdue Entomologist Ralph Williams says they've been seen in deer and other animals in the southern part of Indiana over the last several years.

Williams says the ticks have been migrating north because their hosts, such as deer or rodents, are moving around in broader areas looking for food due to the recent drought conditions.

Williams says there have been cases of people developing meat allergies after being bit by one of these ticks but he says the percentages are very low. He says when a tick bites someone, it secretes things into the body that can resemble red meat allergens. He adds that the allergens are only for red meat, not other types of meat such as fish or poultry.

Williams says there are several qualifications, such as blood type, for an allergy to be created in a person. He says just a small percentage of the population will develop an allergy from a lone star tick bite and can have symptoms anywhere from a mild rash to more severe symptoms.

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