Tick that causes food allergy discovered in CT

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NEW HAVEN --  There is a tick that is becoming more prominent in Connecticut. And, if you are bitten, you might become allergic to a certain food.

Officials from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in New Haven, said it is seeing an increased number so called Lone Star ticks being brought in for testing.

With the name Lone Star, one would assume it has to do with where it was first discovered.

"It's not from Texas," said State Entomologist Dr. Kirby Stafford , who is the Chief Scientist for CAES.

There's a distinguishing marking on the tick.

"It gets its name from the bright, iridescent, dot on the back of the female tick," said Stafford.

Discovered on eastern Long Island in the early 1990's, the first known established reproducing population of this tick in Connecticut came in June, in South Norwalk, where a deer was found dead and severely infested with the ticks.

"I want to emphasize it does not transmit the agents that causes Lyme disease, babesiosis or anaplasmosis," said Stafford.

And, Lone Star bites can trigger an allergy to red meat for human beings.

"It's an allergy to a sugar that is carried in red meat, but it's not present in humans or primates," he adds.

He said there is a delayed anaphylactic reaction.

"They can still eat chicken. They can still eat fish, but goodbye steak," Stafford said, with a smile.

Of the roughly 3,000 ticks the public has brought to CAES every year, fewer than 100 are Lone Star Ticks.

"So, it's only two or three percent of the total. But it, the numbers have been slowly increasing," Stafford said.

Dr. Stafford said, if a female Lone Star tick bites you, it can be very painful.

"If you have a huge population or hit a pocket of larval ticks, they can cause quite a rash if you end up getting bitten by a lot of them at once," said Stafford.

And, if you're bitten by one of these Lone Star ticks, you'll have to take antibiotics.