Ticks And Lyme Disease
Unlike mosquitoes that can transfer West Nile to humans with a single bite, the tick has to be attached to the body for at least 24 to 36 hours, according to public health officials. Thats enough time for the bacteria in the insects gut to make its way into its human host.
Symptoms crop up within three to as long as 30 days: a rash at the site of the bite, headaches, fevers, muscle aches and chills.
These symptoms appear to be the onset of Lyme disease. The condition was first discovered in the late 1970s and was named after the town where the initial cases were diagnosed in Lyme, Conn.
If its left untreated it could move onto the second stage of the disease.
The ticks victim is left with multiple skin rashes, arthritis, heart palpitations and central and peripheral nervous system disorders.
A third and final stage is recurring arthritis and neurological problems, according to Health Canada.
The little insects may be the predominant culprit of Lyme disease but theyre also responsible for carrying at least three other disease-inducing agents.
If you get bitten by a tick, remove it carefully and hang onto the insect so that doctors can help decipher what type of tick bit you, the experts say.
Delayed Allergic Reaction To Red Meat
Why does a person with alpha-gal allergy experience a reaction several hours after eating red meat, instead of like a peanut allergy which can happen immediately?
Theres two main answers to thatthe first of which is that alpha-gal is a sugar. So much of what we know about allergies in general center on proteins. Part of this, is that we believe that the response to the sugar is in some ways a weaker response than we might see for proteins. Secondly, the most severe reactions tend to happen with fattier forms of meat. The digestion of fat is very different from the way that sugars or proteins are absorbed. The digestion of fat is a process that takes three to hours to deliver fat to the bloodstream.
Typically, allergic reactions to mammalian meat occurs 2-6 hoursafter ingesting the meats, and can be severe. Whats interesting, is that these allergic reactions to mammalian meat dont typically occur until 1 to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick!
What Are Health Officials Doing
In May, the federal government poured $4 million into the countrys first-ever Lyme disease framework. Its a guide that will help Ottawa with establishing national surveillance, issuing guidelines and educating the public about the illness tied to tick bites.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says that its anticipating the possible expansion of the Lone Star ticks range into Canada. Its even developed a risk modelling method and is researching the possible impact of warming climates on the ticks populations.
We aim to be able to identify locations in Canada that may become suitable for the Lone Star tick in the near future. We are also using our passive tick surveillance data to study where Lone Star ticks are being carried into Canada by migratory birds, Maddison said.
The number of Lyme disease cases has shot up across Canada over the last seven years, from 144 in 2009 to a high of 917 in 2015. Blacklegged ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and transmit it to humans through bites. So, more reports of Lyme disease are partly due to more awareness, but also due to more ticks.
Its been a nasty year for ticks all around, according to Wilson.
His organization sells tick removal kits online in 2016, he sold 4,000 kits in an entire year. So far, hes sold 7,000 kits in the month of May alone.
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The Tick Thats Becoming More Prevalent In Ri Could Cause A Red Meat Allergy
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
The Amblyomma americanum tick – also known as the lone star tick. Photo: CDC Gathany/Vickers
One Rhode Island man said he believes it was a lone star tick bite last summer that caused him to go into anaphylactic shock when he ate a beef burrito in the weeks following and now he says he cant eat meat or even wear wool.
Alpha-gal Syndrome also called alpha-gal allergy, red meat allergy, or tick bite meat allergy is a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . AGS may occur after people eat red meat or are exposed to other products containing alpha-gal.
Growing evidence suggests that AGS may be triggered by the bite of a lone star or blacklegged tick, the CDC continues. More research is needed to understand the role ticks play in triggering this reaction, and why certain people develop AGS.
A University of Rhode Island expert said the lone star tick is well established in Rhode Island and spreading.
It used to be black-legged ticks on Long Island in the 1980s and now the lone star tick has set up shop in some fairly metropolitan areas, including Staten Island, said URIs Dr. Thomas Mather.
This tick is definitely is definitely on the inroads here, said Mather of it in Rhode Island. Its a sad thing. Its a much more aggressive biter.
One Mans Story
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. It is caused by a bacterial infection transmitted through the bites of blacklegged ticks. The symptoms can be divided into two phases:
Early Symptoms :
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans rash- This rash occurs in roughly 70 to 80 percent of patients and presents at the site of the tick bite between three and thirty days after the original bite. It expands gradually and can cover an area up to one foot in diameter. It may feel warm to the touch, but is rarely itchy or painful. In some cases, it may take on a bulls-eye appearance.
Late Symptoms :
- Severe headache
- Additional EM rashes on additional body parts
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, most commonly in the knees
- Pain in tendons, muscles and joints
- Facial palsya loss of muscle tone or droopiness in one side of the face
- Dizziness and shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord
- Nerve pain
- Shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Short-term memory loss or confusion
In most cases, Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious damage to the heart, lungs, nervous system and joints.
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What To Watch For
Early signs of anaphylaxis may include a metallic taste, burning, tingling, or itching of the tongue or mouth, headache, and feelings of fear or confusion. A reaction can progress quickly, and severe symptoms include throat swelling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and more.
If you think you may be experiencing anaphylaxis, even if youve never had an allergic reaction before, you should call 911.
When the reaction is under control, talk to your doctor about whether red meat could have been the cause of your symptoms, since some doctors may not be aware of the alpha-gal allergy, suggests Princess Ogbogu, M.D., division director of allergy and immunology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Theres no cure for red meat allergy, so if youre diagnosed, youll need to avoid the foods that trigger a reaction. Commonly, that includes various kinds of red meats. But some people can also become sensitive to other items that contain alpha-gal, including dairy, and even, rarely, sweets that contain gelatin or medications derived from animal byproducts.
In some cases, Lieberman says, if people whove developed alpha- gal allergies avoid all future tick bites from lone star ticks , their levels of the antibodies to alpha-gal may diminish, and the allergy could subside. Its unknown how common this is, however.
How One Tick Bite Can Lead To A Life
One night in the summer of 2009, Jeremy Spittle emerged from a hot tub covered in hives that itched four times more than poison ivy. For months, his skin broke out like this every few days. The only thing that helped was doubling sometimes quadrupling the recommended dose of Benadryl. One time, the reaction was so bad it required a trip to the emergency room. Another time, Spittle fainted in the bathroom, hitting his head on the sink as he fell.
He tried cutting alcohol from his diet. Then milk. Then vegetables. It was during this trial and error period that Spittles father stumbled across a Washington Post article detailing cases of a new meat allergy with symptoms ranging from hives to anaphylactic shock. The cause?The Lone Star tick.
Spittle, 33, who lived in Nokesville, Virginia and worked frequently outdoors for Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, had been bitten by multiple ticks earlier that spring. The stories and symptoms in the article seemed to echo his experience. Was this tick at the root of his problems, he wondered?
Lone Star ticks bite humans by inserting needle-like mouth parts into the skin, while backward-facing teeth act as hooks, securing them in place. They also secrete a cement-like substance that helps them to stay attached, Kaufman said.
Approximate distribution of the Lone Star tick. Map courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Spittles doctor doesnt buy the hygiene hypothesis.
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How To Protect Yourself Against Ticks
- Wear light-coloured clothing. It makes ticks easier to see and remove before they can attach to feed.
- Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, closed footwear and tuck your pants into your socks.
- Use a tick repellent that contains DEET. Apply it to your skin and outer clothing.
- Examine yourself thoroughly for ticks after a day out and use a mirror to check the back of your body.
With files from Leslie Young and Kevin Nielsen
What Are The Symptoms Of Ags
AGS reactions can include:
- Swelling of the lips, throat, tongue, or eye lids
- Dizziness or faintness
- Severe stomach pain
AGS can be severe, and even life-threatening. Seek immediate emergency care if you are having a severe allergic reaction.
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Allergic Reactions From Lone Star Ticks
The first symptom of a meat allergy is usually a rash or hives, but unlike other food allergies that happen a little sooner, it can take six hours to start seeing a reaction. Most peoples first step would be to take an antihistamine and hope they feel better, but an awareness of having a tick bite and seeing this kind of reaction after eating red meat could save your life. Anaphylaxis due to a meat allergy can have wildly varying effects on people, from a mild reaction only once to a severe and life-threatening reaction for decades, especially when the victim has had anaphylaxis before. An allergist is qualified to diagnose the symptoms and in many cases the sufferer may be prescribed an EpiPen.
If you believe that you or someone you know is having an anaphylactic reaction, dont hesitate to call 911 and use an EpiPen if you have it. Any kind of wheezing, coughing, throat tightness, dizziness, light-headedness and chest pain needs to be taken very seriously and can escalate quickly to being unable to breathe at all or the heart stopping completely.
Climate change is affecting the range and intensity of insect populations as warmer temperatures allow them to multiply faster and live farther north. Its a good idea to stay educated on some of the more insidious creatures and take appropriate measures around your house by keeping tick removal kits and natural insect repellents, and by removing some underbrush that is close to your home.
Understanding The Link Between Meat Allergies And Tick Bites
Alpha-gal syndrome isnât listed on the CDC website as a tick-borne disease. Scott Commins MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, says that makes sense, because this is more of an allergy than a disease. He is part of the team that first discovered that the Lone Star tick can cause a meat allergy. He did that while working at the University of Virginia with Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills, MD, the doctor who discovered alpha-gal was the cause of allergic reactions to a cancer drug.
âWe had a couple of patients who described this delayed reaction to red meat,â Commins says. âAt first we were the only center reporting this, and there was a healthy amount of skepticism. But over time, an awareness of this allergy began to grow.â
Platts-Mills published his first paper on alpha-gal in 2008, and he and Commins published about the link to a meat allergy in 2009, although they say theyâve have heard of cases as far back as the 1970s. And around the same time their research was beginning, Platts-Mills himself got the meat allergy after being bitten by a number of ticks during a 5-hour hike in Virginia. Three months later, he ate two lamb chops and woke up 6 hours later in the middle of the night covered in hives.
âOur research clearly identified alpha-gal as the cause of anaphylaxis in the majority of cases where the cause was detected. Food allergies were the second leading cause, accounting for 24%,â Pattanaik says.
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Do You Like Eating Red Meat Then Avoid Ticks
We are learning more about the Lone Star Tick as more knowledge is released to the public. We know that the Lone Star Tick is aggressive and will seek out a human or pet as its next meal. We know that Lone Star Ticks are found throughout southeastern and south-central states and that they do not transmit Lyme Disease. We know that the white “star” on its shell is how the tick got its name. We knew all of this but we were not prepared to learn that a tick bite from a Lone Star can lead to a red-meat allergy. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about with the risk for Lyme Disease transmission, the Powassan Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other tick-borne illnesses. Now, no red meat?
Some Lone Stars may be carrying Alpha-Gal, the nickname for sugar molecule alpha-1,3-galactose that might cause someone to become allergic to red meat such as pork, beef and lamb. Currently, there are treatments available for side effects from food allergies but no cure or vaccine.
Once bitten by a Lone Star Tick, the body’s immune system is rewired. Most people realize that they are carrying the Alpha-Gal “allergy” in their system after they eat red meat. Patients that have had allergic reactions from the tick bite experience vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath and break out in hives.
Professor Dr. Vett Lloyd, in New Brunswick, has already found Lone Star Ticks in the area.
Tick Saliva And The Alpha
- Center for Molecular and Cellular Biology, School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, United States
Ticks and tick-borne diseases are significant public health concerns. Bioactive molecules in tick saliva facilitate prolonged blood-feeding and transmission of tick-borne pathogens to the vertebrate host. Alpha-gal syndrome , a newly reported food allergy, is believed to be induced by saliva proteins decorated with a sugar molecule, the oligosaccharide galactose–1,3-galactose . This syndrome is characterized by an IgE antibody-directed hypersensitivity against -gal. The -gal antigen was discovered in the salivary glands and saliva of various tick species including, the Lone Star tick . The underlying immune mechanisms linking tick bites with -gal-specific IgE production are poorly understood and are crucial to identify and establish novel treatments for this disease. This article reviews the current understanding of AGS and its involvement with tick species.
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Know The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
According to pest experts, this years tick season is anticipated to be one of the worst in decades. This is partially due to a mild winter across the United States, but also because of a decrease in the population of a certain species of mouse. Increased tick populations mean increased instances of tick-borne diseases. Here are some symptoms to be on the lookout for.
Epidemiology Of The Ige Antibody Response To Alpha
Using the assay for IgE Ab to alpha-gal, we screened sera from different groups of patients who had presented to the allergy clinic. It rapidly became clear that there was a group of patients who consistently reported urticarial or anaphylactic reactions occurring 35 h after eating red meat . In keeping with the known distribution of the oligo-saccharide, these patients also had positive skin tests and serum assays to beef, pork, and lamb, as well as milk, cat, and dog .
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Lone Star Ticks Are Aggressive Too
In Canada, there are traditionally a handful of ticks at play, such as the western black-legged ticks, or deer ticks, wood ticks and American dog ticks.
And then theres the Lone Star tick. Theyre typically bigger in size and, in turn, feed more because they need a lot of energy to reproduce.
Theyre dubbed as aggressive compared to their relatives.
The conventional tick hangs onto grass and waits for its next victim to approach them whether its a human, dog or wildlife.
Lone Star ticks will walk or run towards a meal, so theyre aggressive ticks. The last one in the lab was alive and even though she was fully fed, the moment I started handling her, she escaped the vial and ran towards me, Lloyd said.
Theres no such thing as a good tick, but these are the worst, she said.