Sunday, November 25, 2012

Allergic to Meat: Tiny Tick May Be Spreading Vegetarianism

A tiny tick might be to blame for a rash of meat allergies in central and southern regions of the U.S. A bite from the lone star tick, so-called for the white spot on its back, looks innocent enough. But researchers say saliva that sneaks into the wound might trigger a 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. "Most people want to avoid having the reaction, so they try to stay away from the food that triggers it." Cases of the bizarre allergy are cropping up in areas ripe with lone star ticks, according to research presented today at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif. But whether the bugs cause meat allergies remains unclear. The long lag between exposure to meat and the allergic reaction complicates things even more...more

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