Ticks can cause red meat allergy

ARKABUTLA LAKE Lake, Miss. — Charlotte White loves the outdoors and cooking out, but she can’t enjoy a lot of barbecuing like she used to.

”I have got to the point I can’t eat regular hamburger, ground beef, steaks. As much as everybody loves a good steak, I can’t eat ‘em.”

Why’s that? An expert from Mississippi State University says it’s likely due to a bite from the Lone Star Tick.

The tick carries a sugar similar to one found in meat, but its bite triggers an immune response that can trigger an allergy to red meat.

“People with a propensity for allergies are more likely to develop the red meat allergy,” Mississippi State University expert Jerome Goddard said.

He added, “The severity of the allergic reaction will also vary from person to person.”

You can find the Lone Star Tick in more than a quarter of the United States, from Iowa to Texas and from Mississippi to Maine, mostly in wooded areas with thick underbrush.

That’s why campers like James Newsom of Byhalia go the extra mile to keep pesky bugs away by spraying gallons of bug killer.

”I might make two circles around and I may use up to two jugs spraying at the time, but it seems like it’s keeping the varmints away.”

Even Charlotte White won’t go out without dousing herself in spray containing large amounts of DEET.

”After a while, you do develop a phobia of ever coming outside and scared that you’re gonna get a tick on you and you don’t want to go through that pain when you do get a tick.”

Because she doesn’t want to lose any more enjoyment of the outdoors.


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