The Lone Star tick is usually found in the southeastern parts of the U.S., but for the first time, the tick, named after a single light spot on the back of the adult females of the species, has been found in Canada.
A veterinary clinic in London, Ontario posted it found the tick recently. The disease can ben transmitted to dogs and humans. Other sightings of the tick have now been reported in Woodstock and Lindsay, in Ontario, and also in New Brunswick and suspected in northern Quebec.
According to the CDC, the ticks transmit a variety of diseases, including the Heartland Virus Disease and Southern tick-associated infectious disease, or STARI, a recently-identified illness similar to Lyme Disease. It’s the adult females and ticks in the nymph stage that most frequently bite humans.
A recent study found the lone star’s saliva contains a carbohydrate — alpha-gal — which sparks the development of antibodies in the human bite victim. These antibodies are triggered when the victim consumes meat that contains alpha-gal; specifically beef, lamb, and pork, and products derived from those animals, including milk and gelatin.
The allergic reaction manifests one to three months after the bite.
And the reaction is an intense one — anaphylaxis. Symptoms, which can occur as much as 10 hours after eating, can range from hives and vomiting to trouble breathing and dangerously low blood pressure.
Photo credit: Oakridge Animal Clinic