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November 21, 2012 8:10 PM   Subscribe

As if ticks weren't awful/awesome enough already, the Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) has been shown to transmit an allergy to meat in humans.

As the climate warms, the tick's natural range may extend northward, exposing more people to this meat allergy. To me, this seems like the perfect thing to help mitigate the meat industry's contributions to global climate change.
posted by wormwood23 (34 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Might as well pick up and move to the meat planet now.
posted by Nomyte at 8:15 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


N-no! I will never stop enjoying Thanksgiving & my precious BBQ, TICKS.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:16 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would say that induced allergies that can "full-blown anaphylactic shock" in people are probably not good, even if you support the cause.

Also, the evidence is sketchy so far. It might be good to link to some actual science
posted by blahblahblah at 8:17 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


blahblahblah, you make a good point: here's some.
posted by wormwood23 at 8:21 PM on November 21, 2012


Waiting for Authentic Wm. Gibson to spin some sort of eco-terrorist plot involving this.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:26 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


If we had an "allery" to meat, wouldn't we just break into hives whenever we were, well, like, close to ourselves?
posted by HuronBob at 8:29 PM on November 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


Thanks, this just rocketed to the top of my irrational fear list.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:32 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The upside is ticks may give you that mustache feeling.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:45 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


No one tell PETA.
posted by Mezentian at 8:56 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ticks are horrible. My dog picked up ticks about a month and a half ago, and we've been finding them in the house and picking them off her every day since then, despite applying Frontline and spraying our back yard with poison. There's no getting rid of them, and they haunt my dreams (as she sleeps in our bed).

Now I have to make sure my wife never finds out about this story.
posted by lostburner at 9:13 PM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well that's ironic.
posted by boo_radley at 9:15 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Semi-relevent. (from the Terry Bisson story)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:15 PM on November 21, 2012


They should call it the Oregon Volvo Whole Foods Yoga Cargo Bike Almond Butter tick.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:16 PM on November 21, 2012 [8 favorites]


... allergy to meat in humans.

God dammit! That's Un-American!
posted by mazola at 9:33 PM on November 21, 2012


Hello old friend, it has been awhile. How have you been, my good old DDT. What did you say they said about you? Oh, they were just kidding!
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:03 PM on November 21, 2012


Having gone for all-you-can-eat ribs tonight I suspect I may have this.

I also suspect I'll feel differently tomorrow.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:04 AM on November 22, 2012


As the climate warms, the tick's natural range may extend northward, exposing more people to this meat allergy.

It would be really interesting if eating meat became a regional thing.
posted by pracowity at 12:13 AM on November 22, 2012


As the climate warms, the tick's natural range may extend northward,

Pardon me while I go scout retirement (right, retirement, with that big nest egg, pfffft) locations north of Michigan and south of the places where polar bears wander through town and eat your shih tzu.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:14 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, polar bears will be a non-issue soon anyhow.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:16 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


What the hell? This can't be. That's just sadistic. I look forward to the next thing, maybe it'll cause spontaneous limb failure in response to laughter, or make watching videos of cute animals a deadly carcinogen.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:35 AM on November 22, 2012


Some tick myths

1. They don't hang out in trees and drop on your head like a special forces parachutist. The reason they end up in your head is because they crawl up clothing.

2. It's common wisdom that ticks are spread by deer (thus "deer tick"). They do, some, but moles are a hidden source. If your yard has moles (and many do) you won't get rid of the ticks. Get rid of the moles. There are mole war devices. Some moles though like the naked mole rat, do not war with the naked mole rat.
posted by stbalbach at 12:39 AM on November 22, 2012


As a vegetarian, I just want to say we aren't all laughing about this. Some of us are high-fiving.

Hey! Kidding! It would be funny though if the cure was to harvest and eat ticks.
posted by orme at 1:02 AM on November 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you were a prey animal that didn't eat red meat, this allergy could actually make it beneficial to you and yours to become accepting hosts for this tick (within limits), thereby encouraging its spread, because they could make your predators allergic to all of you.

So basically, this is good for the tick because it could make, and evidently has made at least some of a large class of potential hosts not try so hard to avoid it and get rid of it.
posted by jamjam at 1:54 AM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Whatever is happening on the microbiological side of this if turned inside out, combined with Rabies and the animating of necrotic flesh via intramuscular parasitic infestation is....is....is...errr...

BRRRRRAAAIINNNNSSS!!!!!
posted by Skygazer at 3:06 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


or make watching videos of cute animals a deadly carcinogen.

we're doomed!
posted by HuronBob at 3:22 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Just red meat. Not poultry or fish. And they don't yet know what it is about this tick's spit that makes people allergic.

If you were an unscrupulous poultry or fish vendor, I wonder what the most effective way to spread this allergy would be?
posted by pracowity at 3:42 AM on November 22, 2012


Texas, you say? Suffered can't eat beef but can eat chicken you say? The dastardly mad scientist behind this genetically-altered "meat assassin" is probably that damned Chick-Fil-A cow!
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:48 AM on November 22, 2012


Potential derail, but is Chick-Fil-A pronounced "Chick Filet"?
posted by Mezentian at 4:57 AM on November 22, 2012


Mezentian: yes.
posted by wormwood23 at 6:13 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


TwelveTwo: How have you been, my good old DDT.

For all the conspiracy talk about how DDT is the solution to all our problems and we're being oppressed by government regulations, nothing has really changed: it's still a persistent pollutant that has a long list of negative effects on non-target organisms (including causing cancer in humans), and its use still generates resistance in most target insect populations.

I dislike ticks as much as the next person, but DDT is the worst of both worlds.
posted by sneebler at 6:43 AM on November 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Potential derail, but is Chick-Fil-A pronounced "Chick Filet"?

I first read it as chick-feelah or chick-fillah, both of which sound kind of pervy, but it is fillay because that's how most Americans say fillet.
posted by pracowity at 7:05 AM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


The British also say Don Juan, so please excuse me if I disregard British pronunciation altogether.
posted by mistersquid at 9:51 AM on November 22, 2012


If we had an "allergy" to meat, wouldn't we just break into hives whenever we were, well, like, close to ourselves?

Treating this joke seriously - it's an immune response to galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, a carbohydrate moiety expressed on the surface of many mammalian cells but not on primate cells. This particular allergy has actually been an ongoing problem with cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody drug used to treat cancer (which has the carbohydrate moiety because of the particular cell line in which it's manufactured, not because the antibody itself necessarily has to have alpha-gal stuck to it), and it's one of the reasons that organ transplants from other animals like pigs haven't been more extensively developed. It's a real thing, not the kind of allergy that your woo-woo cousin with the lifelong history of vague symptoms claims cleared up as soon as s/he started that restrictive diet and lifestyle, with those uncomfortable treatments s/he insists are a daily indispensible for the people of an ancient culture to which you don't belong.
posted by gingerest at 3:25 PM on November 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Anaphylactic shock is no laughing matter, unless we're talking about Texans.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:11 AM on November 28, 2012


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