Most people are familiar with Lyme disease, a dangerous illness that is carried by ticks. Lyme is not the only disease that ticks carry. The Lone Star Tick carries a disease that causes people to become violently allergic to Red Meat.

The lone star ticks originated in the Southeast of United States

Lone Star Ticks originally inhabited just the southeast United States but have since been discovered as far north as Maine. The females can be identified by the distinctive white spot on their back. The Lone Star Tick leaves a red bull's-eye rash just like Lyme disease but they are not carriers for Lyme.

Once limited to southeastern states such as Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina, changing temperatures have allowed these ticks to migrate further north. They are now common in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and New England. Lone Star Ticks have even been spotted in notoriously cold climates such as Minnesota.

Disease carried by Lone Star Tick can cause an allergic reaction to meat

Although it is not a carrier for Lyme, the Lone Star Tick does act as a carrier for a bizarre disease which can cause you to be allergic to red meat. The tick's bite specifically causes an allergy to a carbohydrate known as Galactose-Alpha-1,3-Galactose, or Alpha-gal. Alpha-gal is found in the cell membrane of most mammals.

Humans and apes do not have Alpha-gal in their cells, making them susceptible to this Allergic Reaction. Red meats such as lamb, pork, and beef all contain Alpha-gal while poultry and seafood do not.

The first signs of allergic reaction occur 3-12 hours after eating, initially making it difficult for people to identify the source of their allergy.

Reactions vary in their severity from person to person so, while some people may be able to handle red meat in small quantities, others are not even capable of enjoying dairy products. Symptoms of the allergic reaction involve hives, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal problems, and in the most severe cases, anaphylactic shock.

There is no known treatment for this condition.

Lone Star Ticks act as carriers for other diseases as well. Human Monocytotropic Ehrlichiosis (HME) is another scary illness these ticks carry. It takes 3 weeks for symptoms to show often making people believe they have a serious cold as opposed to a tick-borne illness. This illness starts off as a cough, fever, and vomiting but can progress to cause serious neurological damage. Brain lesions and other types of inflammation are not uncommon and can be permanent. If left untreated HME can cause kidney failure and death. Lone star ticks also carry Tularemia which causes ulcers, high fevers, and headaches. It can spread to the lungs, potentially causing Pneumonia.

Although some of these disease can be serious, most Lone Star Ticks are not carriers and these conditions are considered rare.