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Tick's bite can trigger red meat allergy

Elizabeth Nicodemus/Flickr/Creative Commons

"Psst! Want to become a vegetarian?" -- a Lone Star Tick, whose bite contains alpha-gel, a substance that induces an allergy to red meat in humans.

If a creature bites you, the best case scenario is that you end up with superpowers, like Spider-Man.

However, when people are bit by the Lone Star Tick, something different happens: They can develop an allergy to red meat.

These ticks are found throughout the southern and eastern parts of the country.

Thomas Platts-Mills, professor of allergy and immunology at the University of Virginia, first linked the insect to the allergy in 2011. He says that instances of people developing an allergy to red meat have been around years before that. However, Dr Platts-Mills says he's seeing more of these cases become common.

Platts-Mills joined Take Two Wednesday to explain more about how a bug bite is changing people's diets.


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