It looks like Lyme disease isn’t the only thing Canadians need to worry about contracting from ticks. A bite from the Lone Star tick can trigger an allergy to red meat, and the tiny bug is making its way into Canada.
For decades, scientists kept a watchful eye over the Lone Star tick and its potent bite. The tick that’s widespread in the East, Southeast and Midwest United States got its nickname from the small white “star” that’s on the back of the female bugs.
In the past few months, the tick – and its victims with newfound meat allergies – have cropped up not just in the Midwest and southern states, but farther north into Minnesota, New Hampshire and Maine.
Canadian experts say Lone Star ticks are on course to make their way into Canada, whether carnivores like it or not.
We’ve already seen the insect cross the border, too.
Dr. Vett Lloyd, a University of New Brunswick professor, began collecting tick samples in 2012. So far, she’s come across two Lone Star ticks in Eastern Canada. Ontario reported a third incident, too.
“It’s more than zero but we’re not drowning in them by any means. They’ve been dropping off birds or large mammals. They’re not established at this point but they may become established with climate change,” she warned.
“It’s almost inevitable” that they end up in Canada, she said.