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Lone Star Tick
📸 by @bugclub_worldwide

Small external parasite native to the eastern United States.

The bite of the lone star tick is (allegedly) painless and it is common for them to go unnoticed while they gorge themselves on the host’s bodily fluid (blood)
Some of these ticks carry a carbohydrate known as the alpha-gal molecule, which in some cases where a human has sustained a bite from one of these, can result in the development of the alpha-gal allergy – also known as mammalian meat allergy.

If this sugar molecule has successfully passed from the tick’s saliva to the human body, the consumption of red meat (pork, beef, lamb) will trigger an immune system response, which may produce a mild to severe allergic reaction 3 – 6 hours after consumption.

Reactions manifest as anaphylaxis – a life-threatening allergic reaction characterized by constriction of airways and a drop in blood pressure.

There is no treatment for this alpha-gal syndrome, other than avoiding red meat or other products made from mammals.

Along with mammalian meat allergy, ticks in general are responsible for the transmission of the following illnesses:
boutonneuse fever
African tick bite fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Flinders Island spotted fever
Queensland tick typhus
Lyme disease
Q fever
Colorado tick fever
Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever
tick-borne relapsing fever
Bourbon virus,
tick-borne meningoencephalitis

Protect against tick bites by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and using insect repellents when you’re in wooded, grassy areas. Do a thorough, full-body tick check after spending time outside.



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