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A tick bite that makes you a vegetarian

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KANSAS CITY, Mo., Aug. 7 (UPI) -- As ticks from the South and the East invade other parts of the country, more and more people are becoming aware of the dangers of the little blood suckers' bites. And its not just the obvious ones. In addition to Lyme disease, the Heartland virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Powassan, and a handful of other diseases, doctors now say tick bites can also induce an allergy to red meat.

The peculiar reaction has been linked to the Lone Star tick, which is named for Texas but is present throughout the Southeast. Similar allergy cases have also been reported in conjunction with bites from different ticks in Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Korea.

Doctors say it happens because ticks carry a range of bioactive compounds in its saliva, one of which is a blood sugar called alpha-gal -- one that is present in many non-primate mammals, but not in humans. It's also present in red meat, including beef, pork, venison, and rabbit. When it's ingested, the body doesn't react. But when alpha-gal makes its way into the blood stream via a tick bite, the human immune system reacts by building antibodies to the foreign sugar.

Hmmm PETA conspiracy?

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Hmmm PETA conspiracy?

Could be. Then again considering what is suspected to be in read meat ( in the US) , maybe the tick is trying to do people a favor. :P

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