There’s an old saying in journalism: if a headline is stated as a question, the answer is ‘no’.
This might be an exception.
I stumbled across this article in the New Yorker – Can Ticks Make You Allergic to Red Meat? – and figured that while the New Yorker is a perfectly cromulent publication, it isn’t where I would go for science news. So while intrigued, at first I dismissed it as bad science. There’s a lot of it (you’ll find plenty on my own blog).
The gist of the story was that when these ticks bite you, they excrete a substance found in red meat into your bloodstream that your body can develop an immune response to. This results in getting hives and even a tightening throat similar to anaphylactic shock symptoms some unfortunate people get from peanuts or bee stings.
Hoping the editors were asleep at the switch, I began to Google this. I had never heard of this and figured this must be some urban legend.
WebMD is certainly a better place to find health information and I found it mentioned there.
I also found it mentioned on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amblyomma_americanum#Meat_allergy
Don’t trust either of them? You can also find it here: http://acaai.org/allergies/types/food-allergies/types-food-allergy/meat-allergy
Being in New Jersey, I selfishly thought this might be confined to Texas – the poor bastards – being it’s called the ‘Lone Star Tick’.
I was wrong – here’s a map of where the ‘Lone Star’ tick can be found.
I happened to tell this to my 8-year-old daughter and her response was: “Aauugh! That would mean I couldn’t eat bacon!”
I did mention to her that it was an allergy from ‘mammalian non-primate meat’ only, so monkey-meat bacon would be just fine.
She didn’t even grace my nonsense with an answer.
The good news is this particular tick isn’t likely to carry Lyme Disease – just a bushel-basket full of other diseases to fuck you up.
Yet another reason for us to stay inside our hermitically-sealed, climate-controlled houses as far away from nature as possible.
Want ‘nature’? Find a documentary on Netflix!