There’s a new weapon in the war on meat: a tiny tick, whose bite might be spreading meat allergies up the East Coast.
A bite from the lone star tick, so-called for the white spot on its back, looks innocent enough. But University of Virginia researchers say saliva that sneaks into the tiny wound may trigger an allergic reaction to meat — agonizing enough to convert lifelong carnivores into wary vegetarians.
“People will eat beef and then anywhere from three to six hours later start having a reaction; anything from hives to full-blown anaphylactic shock,” said Dr. Scott Commins, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “And most people want to avoid having the reaction, so they try to stay away from the food that triggers it.”