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Tick Disease Rises In Alabama

Jennifer Smith

Posted on July 06 2018

The number of cases of red meat allergies traced to a tick bite is on the rise, scientists said.

Dr. Tara Narula from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said more than 5,000 cases of the tick-related meat allergy were reported in the last year. That's up from 3,500 cases in two years, ago, CBS News reported.

The tick, which gets its name from the Texas-shaped spot of white on its back, essentially reprograms the human immune system to reject beef, pork, chicken and other red meats. It can also cause dairy allergies.

In some cases, the allergies can be permanent.

The Lone Star Tick is common in Alabama and other Southeastern states, though it has recently been discovered as far north as Minnesota, New Hampshire and Long Island, and is most often found in woodlands with dense undergrowth and around animal resting areas. The species does not spread Lyme disease, a common tick-born infection, according to the CDC. 

The greatest risk of being bitten by the ticks comes in the early spring through late fall. The CDC said the ticks, particularly the nymph (or young) and adult females varieties, can be aggressive when biting humans.

The CDC recommends taking the following steps to remove a tick:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  • Dispose of a live tick by submersing it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

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