Watch Out! This Tick Bite Can Give You Catastrophic Cheeseburger Aversion

in Weird/Weird Health/WTF by

Now that summer is here, we are all cowering in terror because of the ticks crawling on every blade of grass. We worry about getting Lyme Disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Powassan virus. Gulp!

People are spraying on deet, cedar oil, lemon and eucalyptus. We’re tick checking, showering, doing laundry every six hours.

But it’s still dangerous out there.

Now experts are warning about an extremely creepy new illness spreading around the country in the saliva of lovely little Lone Star ticks.

This particular tick bite won’t leave you with the fever and aches that go along with most of the tick borne illnesses. No, this time it’s more of a sneak attack.

One day, shortly after enjoying a nice steak or cheeseburger, you’ll suddenly begin to itch all over. You’ll get hives, stomach cramps, possibly vomiting. You will be suffering an acute allergic reaction and you will be in real trouble.

The problem is that the Lone Star tick transmits something that causes the human body to have a massive allergic reaction to red meat. The bizarre allergy hits people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. And it is spreading rapidly around the country.

At the moment, scientists are unsure of what is actually being transmitted by the ticks. They don’t know if it’s a virus, a bacterium or some protein that is causing the body to produce a flood of antibodies.

What they do know for sure is that the sudden meat allergy is a reaction to a particular protein-linked saccharide with the adorable name “alpha-gal.” The sugar molecule is present in all red meats, and a person who has the reaction will have to completely stay away from any meat consumption for the rest of their life.

No more pork chops. No more cheeseburgers, or bacon, or salami. No more meatballs.

They say we’d all be healthier if we gave up eating meat, but this doesn’t seem like the best way to do it.

Pass the cedar oil, please?

Featured icky image by Elizabeth Nicodemus via Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)