The meat allergy tick spotted in Rhode Island

JAMESTOWN, R.I. (WLNE) — Ticks in the summertime are par for the course in Southern New England. ABC 6’s Kelly Bates talked to “The Tick Guy” from the University of Rhode Island to explain why a certain tick may ruin your next barbecue.

We’ve heard of the deer tick and the dog tick but this year, there’s a new tick in town. Meet the lone star tick. This fast moving and aggressive biting tick can do more than make a meal out of you. It can give you a bona-fide food allergy.

According to Dr. Thomas Mather, director of URI TickEncounter, the meat allergy tick is here in Rhode Island and multiplying fast.

Mather said the population has increased 300% here in just the past four years. They get their name from a telltale solitary white spot in the middle of the back of the females.

Symptoms of the meat allergy can run from gut distress and can be as severe as anaphylaxis in some people. Keep in mind, not everyone bit by a lone star tick will develop the meat allergy. In fact, it’s a small minority that experiences it.

Mather notes, when you think about the millions of people that get bit by a lone star tick, there clearly aren’t millions of cases of red meat allergy.

The news isn’t all grim, the meat allergy can go away after stopping red meat for a while.

For more information about the variety of ticks active now in Southern New England, tick bite prevention tips, and action steps to take to make your yard safer, head over to TickEncounter.

Categories: News, Scientifically Speaking