Tick that can trigger meat allergy causes concern in the Hamptons

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HAMPTONS, Long Island (PIX11) -- A surge in red meat allergies in the  Hamptons is being blamed on the so-called Lone Star tick, which has a single white spot on its back.

"As an allergist, it's unbelievable," said Dr. Clifford Bassett, Medical Director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York. "What it means is, if you have a Lone Star tick, and it bites you, within several days, things are occurring in your immune system and you actually may develop delayed reactions to red meat.  That includes beef, pork and lamb."

While Dr. Bassett has not handled such cases, he is well aware of the uptick.

"It's in 50 percent of the continental United States, the entire east coast, Midwest and so forth.  There are hotbeds like we're seeing in the Hamptons," he noted.

Dr. Erin McGintee, an allergist who practices in the Hamptons , told PIX11 that she has seen just under 200 cases since  2011.

A person with the tick triggered meat allergy can have a serious reaction with symptoms that include a constricted throat and hives which can be treated with epinephrine.

Dr. Bassett advises anyone with a tick bite, to remove the tick and hold it to give to a doctor who will send it to a lab for testing. It's important, he says, to determine the type of tick.  A Lone Star tick, for example, does not cause Lyme Disease.

Eating veggie burgers instead of hamburgers is likely a good move for sufferers, since it's not known just how long the allergy will last.

For more information, visit nyc-allergist.com.

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