Discovered here in Charlottesville by Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills at UVA Hospital, a connection has now been made between a bacteria transmitted by the lone-star tick (the fast moving one) and a severe meat allergy that causes victims to lose their ability to tolerate red meat. No more steaks, chops, or hamburgers!

Lone Star ticks carry a sugar called alpha-gal, which is also found in red meat, but not in people. Normally, alpha-gal in meat poses no problems for people. But when a Lone Star Tick bites a person, it transfers alpha-gal into the bloodstream.

This disease is still under research and is still too new to attach any patterns or real data. What is known is that it results in severe hives and dangerous swelling when someone who has contracted the allergy eats meat and that they have been bitten at some point by a tick. It’s a direct connection to a tick bite. What’s also known is that it’s permanent.