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Some Tick Bites Can Cause Red Meat Allergies—And Cases Are Spiking

A bite from the Lone Star tick, which can be found in the eastern half of the United States, can cause a severe red meat allergy—and cases have spiked in the last 10 years. NPR reports that the bite somehow transfers alpha-gal, a type of sugar that is commonly found in cows, pigs, and lamb. But in humans, NPR adds, alpha-gal stimulates a dangerous allergy to red meat that can leave the afflicted with hives, lightheadedness, and gastrointestinal troubles. The disease was first identified about 10 years ago, and since then, one scientist told NPR that at least 5,000 cases have sprung up in the eastern half of the country as the tick’s habitat has slowly expanded as far north as Maine, New York, and Minnesota.