The Lone Star Tick is infecting people with a red meat food alle - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

The Lone Star Tick is infecting people with a red meat food allergy

The Lone Star Tick is infecting people with a red meat food allergy

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Lone Star Tick is quietly leaving its mark on Mississippi, changing lifestyles. Two people are now living a meat-lover's worst nightmare.

The Lone Star Tick is common in Mississippi and surrounding states. You can identify it easily; it's brown with a white spot on its back. Two metro area women want to warn you of the dangers.

"Who wants to not be able to have a hamburger, steak or lamb for the rest of your life," said June Wooley.

Two metro area friends discovered they have both had been bitten by the Lone Star Tick. Now they are forced to remove red meat and pork from their diets.

"I am really aware of ticks," added Wooley. "If you bow hunt in the early season, if you turkey hunt in the early spring and you're in Mississippi you are going to get tick bites. It's inevitable."

Julie Wooley and Leigh Bailey were both turkey hunting back in April. Wooley was in Holmes County and Bailey in Madison County. Unknowingly, they both came home infected.

"These ticks were not on me for more than four to six hours," added Wooley.

"I started itching and it was in the palms of my hands. Then my ears started itching really bad," said Leigh Bailey. "I continued to break out to the point where I had hives on every inch of my body."

Doctors said the allergy is bizarre because it occurs several hours after you eat red meat. Once on the body, the Lone Star Tick transmits a sugar known as alpha galactose that a human is not used to.

"Mine is a pretty high level," added Bailey. "They told me to come back in one year and have my blood re-tested to see if my levels have gone down. Often times they see it diminish if you do not get another tick bite. That's they key."

"I do have to carry an epi-pen because my doctor explained to me my next reaction could be an anaphylactic reaction," added Wooley.

Specialists said this is allergy and can be transmitted after the tick has fed on a mammal. The allergy could lead to death if not treated properly.

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