Lone Star tick
The Lone Star tick takes its name from the white spot on the adult female’s back.
The tick has spread from the eastern and southern portions of the United States into eastern Kansas. It continues to spread westward across the state.
The carbohydrate alpha-gal is found in animals but is foreign to humans.
The tick injects alpha-gal into a human’s blood stream. Then the body releases antibodies to fight the foreign sugar. After this, any consumption of red meat with the same alpha-gal causes an allergic reaction.
Symptoms include hives, skin rash, stomach problems, headaches, and trouble breathing. There is no treatment or cure other than avoiding red meat.
In Jan. 2017, the Wichita Eagle reported that alpha-gal syndrome was so new that many health agencies and doctors didn’t know about it.
The Lone Star tick does not cause Lyme disease.