CDC Warning: Lone Star Tick Could Cause Allergic Reaction

June 10, 2024

The overwhelmingly vast majority of cases occur within the range of the lone star tick, which is why most cases of AGS are found in the eastern, southeastern and the south-central parts of the United States, which is the same range [as] this particular tick species.

Veterinarian and disease ecologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Johanna Salzer, explaining the significance of the lone star tick and how it can cause an allergic reaction to animal products. The CDC released a warning in May about the tick.

Why It Matters: As summer takes off, the CDC warns people in the eastern, southeastern, and south-central parts of the U.S. to be mindful of lone star ticks – females are identifiable by a white spot or “lone star” on their back – as they can cause severe allergic reactions to red meat. The CDC believes up to 450,000 people could have been impacted by long star tick bites since 2010, despite a small number of formally reported cases.

What To Know: A bite from the lone star tick can cause alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), which triggers an allergy to meat or dairy products. AGS can appear with symptoms such as hives or itching, swelling and/or shortness of breath. Doctors recommend using preventative action like covering up, using bug spray, checking for ticks after coming inside, and showering as soon as possible.

Read More: A lone star tick bite can cause a meat allergy: Here’s what to watch out for this summer (USA Today)

Diseases Spread by Ticks (CDC)

Photo Credit: CDC

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas