One bite from a lone star tick will make you allergic to meat and they are starting to spread.
The alpha-gal allergy had only been reported in the southeast until recently when at least 100 cases had been reported in Hanover, as well as Duluth, Minnesota, and the eastern tip of Long Island, New York.
The tick species is most present in the southeastern USA, but lately has been spreading north up the East Coast and into the Midwest.
So, it's not totally shocking that these freakish meat allergy cases would crop up in those areas, Tim Husen, Ph.D., B.C.E., an Orkin entomologist, tells SELF.
As seen in the top photo above from July 31, 2014, an oversize rendition of a Lone Star tick is shown on a monitor at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. It's a sugar humans become allergic to after being bitten by the tick.
Right now, the only thing cool about the Lone Star Tick is the name.
The lone star tick, which can trigger a life-threatening red meat allergy with just one bite, is spreading from its home base in the southeastern United States, scientists say. Some people develop an antibody to this sugar, which can sometimes-not always-cause an allergic reaction when they consume red meat.
Many people don't know they have developed the allergy until they eat read meat and begin to itch and develop hives, stomach cramps and - in severe cases - difficulty breathing, fainting and even death. However, experts aren't totally sure if these tick-related meat allergies are happening because of exposure to blood from animals the tick has bitten before or something else.
We do indeed have ticks living among us here in Ireland which we wrote about previously regarding Lyme disease and the various ways to avoid their bites.
Such allergies are still incredibly rare and the government hasn't issued any health warnings yet, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the distribution, range and abundance of the Lone Star tick has increased steadily in the past 20 to 30 years. But what exactly is in the saliva that causes this response has scientists stumped. Dr. Fichtenbaum agrees. He tells SELF that the way in which people develop the meat allergy from ticks is "really unknown and in the early stages of research".