6 Lone Star Tick Diseases You Can Get From an Infected Bite
An allergy to red meat isn’t the only thing to worry about.
According topublished in theNew England Journal of Medicine, lone star ticks “may be recolonizing areas where they thrived historically, before rampant deforestation and substantial local reduction of key hosts.” The authors link this resurgence, in part, to climate change.
That means we’re probably going to be getting much more familiar with lone star ticks—and possibly even the diseases they carry—in the years to come. Here, everything you should know about the blood-sucking bug.What do lone star ticks look like?Female lone star ticks are easy to identify, because they have a signature white dot on the center of their shields. Male lone stars lack that spot, and have subtle lines or horseshoe-shaped streaks at the edges of their backs instead. Both are a deep reddish, brown color. According to
, though, a nymph (pictured left below) and adult females (pictured right below) are the ones most likely to bite humans.CDCWhere can you find lone star ticks in the U.S.?“The range for the lone star tick goes from Texas, up to Iowa, across to Maine, and all the way down to Florida,” Merchant says. “It’s basically the lower third of the whole U.S.” The CDC notes that they’re more common in the South, but that their reach is expanding to the North and Midwest.
Lone star tick diseasesMerchant notes that notallticks carry diseases and lone star ticks are not known to carry Lyme disease, but they can pass on various other illnesses:1. Alpha-gal syndromeWhile this isn’t technically a disease, the lone star tick is most famous for its ability to
spur a red meat allergy. Alpha-gal is a form of sugar found in red meat, and lone star ticks may carry this sugar in their saliva (after biting another animal, like a deer). If it then bites you, the sugar can travel through your blood and cause your immune system to overreact by pumping out histamine as a response.Read more: Prevention Magazine »
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