Lone Star tick to blame for sudden red meat allergy?

June 12, 2012

University of Virginia researchers say a tick bite may lead to a sudden red meat allergy.

It's a mystery that's spreading through central Virginia and beyond.

Researchers have known about the strange allergy that was first diagnosed in 2006. But they are still trying to figure out this allergic reaction that is very different than most.

Symptoms don't start appearing until hours after a meal.

Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills is not only researching it, he says he is also a victim, having his first reaction to meat five years ago after several tick bites.

"It's a completely new form of food allergy in which you eat beef or pork or lamb, and three or four hours later, you develop hives," said Dr. Platts-Mills. "I would say we are 98 percent sure that the Lone Star tick can do this."

The allergic reactions are mainly showing up in adults, and researchers are still studying how long they last.

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