A new study suggests that the Lone Star Tick (Ambylomma americanuum) may be to blame for the sudden rash of meat allergies that have plagued people in Virginia for years.
The study, conducted at the University of Virginia and headed by Dr. Scott Commins, looked at 51 children with allergic reactions to mammalian meat and found that they had a history of bites from the tick. The allergy has been tough to pinpoint, however, as reactions are often delayed, taking place hours after eating.
Rash at tick bite site may indicate allergy onset
The study found that the children usually developed a rash at the tick bite site before reactions began, and nearly all of them tested positive for alpha-gal antibodies, which are blood proteins that react to a sugar found in meat.
Researchers say that more studies are needed to make a definitive connection, but the path to blaming the Lone Star Tick appears to be the correct one.