A tick that can make you allergic to red meat - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

A tick that can make you allergic to red meat

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A wood tick bite can give you a rash and a bad itch, a deer tick can infect you with Lyme Disease and now there's a new tick roaming around Wisconsin that can trigger a rare allergy.

When it comes to a new breed of tick in the state that's already migrated as far north as price county, there's good news, "Lone Star Ticks are very identifiable.  You can tell by the dot on the back of the female's back that it is, even though it's tiny, it is specific to the Lone Star," says KT Gallagher, environmental health supervisor for the Eau Claire City-County Health Department, and bad news.

"Typically we've monitored for Ehrliciosis as it was related to the Black Legged or Deer Tick," says Gallagher.

Ehrliciosis has now been linked to the Lone Star Tick, which means this little nuisance has been hiding in the grass and transmitting disease for years after spreading from the Southeast.

"The problem is when we have these diseases, it's two weeks, three weeks post tick encounter that people realize that they're sick now and they may not even correlate it," says Entomologist at UW-Stout, Chuck Bomar.

On the rarer side of the list of side effects from a Lone Star Tick bite is an allergy to red meats.  Which means you may be reaching more for the vegetarian option in the fridge.

"There's some protein antibody immuno-chemistry going on that when you get bit by one of these ticks, you're apparently triggering those mechanisms to make that happen," says Bomar.

The other side effects are similar to the flu and the only way to avoid any risks is practicing prevention by using DEET or Permethrin.

"Those repellants are good for any kind of mosquito borne, tick borne illness.  It's going to keep them from wanting to be on your person," says Gallagher.

Because going cold turkey on your beef should be a choice not a diagnosis.

The CDC hasn't officially recognized Wisconsin as a home to the Lone Star Tick yet.

In order to do that, they need to have proof of the tick being found in the state all stages of its lifecycle.

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