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Tick capable of making people allergic to meat is on the rise in the U.S.

Courtesy: The CDC/Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy: The CDC/Wikimedia Commons

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, August 18, 2014, 3:33 PM -

Well, that's one way of becoming a vegetarian.
One bite from a Lone Star tick can make a person severely allergic to meat -- and cases appear to be on the rise in parts of the U.S. 

According to the Associated Press the University of Virginia is currently reporting two to three new cases each week.

The strange allergy was only discovered a few years ago. The tick that causes it was named after Texas, the Lone Star state that's renowned for its bar-b-ques.

The bugs possess a sugar that's found in red meat. One bite from the tick triggers an immune system response in humans and from that point on, the body interprets the sugar as a harmful substance.

That lays the ground work for allergic reactions -- like hives, swelling and itching -- to follow after ingesting red meat.

RELATED: Feeling itchy? Four unusual allergies

There are an estimated 1,500 people in the U.S. that have the allergy -- and according to Popular Science, one area of Long Island, New York has seen an increase of 200 cases since 2011 -- up from "practically zero" in the preceding years.

The allergy can be confirmed through a blood test.

The ticks can be found in southern and eastern portions of the U.S. -- but it's believed that other ticks may cause meat allergies as well, with cases popping up in Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Korea, Spain and Sweden.

Doctors aren't sure if the allergy is permanent although it's believed the effects only last a few months or years, provided the patient isn't bitten again in the interim.

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