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posted by CoolHand on Monday June 19, @06:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the but-bacon-though? dept.

First comes the unscratchable itching, and the angry blossoming of hives. Then stomach cramping, and—for the unluckiest few—difficulty breathing, passing out, and even death. In the last decade and a half, thousands of previously protein-loving Americans have developed a dangerous allergy to meat. And they all have one thing in common: the lone star tick.

Red meat, you might be surprised to know, isn't totally sugar-free. It contains a few protein-linked saccharides, including one called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal, for short. More and more people are learning this the hard way, when they suddenly develop a life-threatening allergy to that pesky sugar molecule after a tick bite.

Yep, one bite from the lone star tick—which gets its name from the Texas-shaped splash of white on its back—is enough to reprogram your immune system to forever reject even the smallest nibble of perfectly crisped bacon. For years, physicians and researchers only reported the allergy in places the lone star tick calls home, namely the southeastern United States. But recently it's started to spread. The newest hot spots? Duluth, Minnesota, Hanover, New Hampshire, and the eastern tip of Long Island, where at least 100 cases have been reported in the last year. Scientists are racing to trace its spread, to understand if the lone star tick is expanding into new territories, or if other species of ticks are now causing the allergy.

The vegans did it?


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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by Nerdfest on Monday June 19, @06:37PM (3 children)

    by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @06:37PM (#528075)

    Found in the southeast states, has a Texas-shaped splotch on its back and causes an allergy to meat? That just reeks of a life-form bio-engineered to troll Texans.

    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday June 19, @08:05PM

      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @08:05PM (#528111) Homepage Journal

      Exactly what i was thinking... like a tick in Canada that gives us an allergy to good beer and maple syrup.

      --
      --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 2) by Dale on Monday June 19, @08:26PM (1 child)

      by Dale (539) on Monday June 19, @08:26PM (#528126)

      We do put our state image on everything (pasta, shower curtains, if you can think of it we have a version with Texas on it). Maybe we engineered the little buggers. Seems a bit off since we raise so much cattle, but maybe it was an experiment gone wrong.

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by AthanasiusKircher on Monday June 19, @08:53PM

        by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Monday June 19, @08:53PM (#528143) Journal

        Seems a bit off since we raise so much cattle, but maybe it was an experiment gone wrong.

        I can just see it now...

        Meat-packer corporate scientist A: "How's that work going on that 'special' project?"
        Meat-packer corporate scientist B: "Great. We've isolated a kind of infection that can result in meat allergies, for some animals in tests. But it should be easy to engineer this to create an opposing effect, resulting in lifelong meat dependency. If they don't eat beef every 24 hours, they'll die. Record profits for us, and those vegans won't know what got 'em!"
        Scientist A: "What's the delivery vector?"
        Scientist B: "Lone Star Ticks! A special gift from cattle country. Isn't that great?"
        Scientist A & B: "Mwah ha ha ha!!"
        Scientist B: "Oh, wait. This container with the infected ticks is open... and empty?! Oops...."

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @06:38PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @06:38PM (#528076)
    there was a short story in asf&f [rocketstackrank.com] about this 2 months ago...

    maybe it's not ticks, but mosquitoes.
    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Monday June 19, @08:40PM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Monday June 19, @08:40PM (#528134)

      Off topic, what do you think of the new editor at Analog? I'm not a fan, I used to look forward to reading the issues, now it's a chore. The stories just aren't interesting anymore.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @06:39PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @06:39PM (#528078)

    Vegans? Nah. However, the Illuminati is constantly talking about the need for people to shift their diet from cattle to insects, you know, for the sake of that catch-all power-grab: Global Warming Climate Change

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @06:47PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @06:47PM (#528079)

      What about transgenders? Can we somehow include them in this conspiracy theory? There should be a double-entendre with meat.

      Transgenders suddenly start existing for the first time in human history, and people become allergic to meat. Coincidence? I think not!

      I admit, though, the bug angle is pretty compelling too. Maybe the transgenders want to force us all to eat bugs.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @06:51PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @06:51PM (#528081)

        I have another angle we could try. We could rope Muslims in as well, since they would want to get out ahead of immigration requirements forcing them to eat bacon. If enough people have an allergy to meat, obviously it wouldn't be practical to implement the bacon-eating test.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by bob_super on Monday June 19, @07:50PM (2 children)

          by bob_super (1357) on Monday June 19, @07:50PM (#528108)

          Is it the Jews for bacon, the Indians for beef, the Californians and their fish tacos, the texans to keep good meat to themselves, the blacks tired of fried chicken jokes, the Asians plotting a tofu takeover ?

          One small tick, so many conspiracy options...

          • (Score: 2) by edIII on Monday June 19, @08:43PM

            by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @08:43PM (#528136)

            Is it the Jews for bacon, the Indians for beef, the Californians and their fish tacos, the texans to keep good meat to themselves, the blacks tired of fried chicken jokes, the Asians plotting a tofu takeover ?

            One small tick, so many conspiracy options...

            Sounds like the plot to Undercover Brother [youtube.com].

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @09:01PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @09:01PM (#528147)

            A Discordian is Required during his early Illumination to Go Off Alone & Partake Joyously of a Hot Dog on a Friday; this Devotive Ceremony to Remonstrate against the popular Paganisms of the Day: of Catholic Christendom (no meat on Friday), of Judaism (no meat of Pork), of Hindic Peoples (no meat of Beef), of Buddhists (no meat of animal), and of Discordians (no Hot Dog Buns).

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Gaaark on Monday June 19, @08:07PM

        by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @08:07PM (#528113) Homepage Journal

        Americans (well, some at least) elect a meat head, and suddenly you're all developing allergies to meat. COINCIDENCE!?!?!
        I. Think. Not!
        ;)

        --
        --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday June 19, @08:51PM (1 child)

      by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday June 19, @08:51PM (#528140) Journal

      Insects are meat

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday June 20, @12:21AM

        by HiThere (866) on Tuesday June 20, @12:21AM (#528231)

        Yess....but does insect meat contain the particular sugar that this allergen targets? Not clear. It's not even clear that fish does, though in both cases it well might.

        --
        Put not your faith in princes.
  • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Monday June 19, @06:59PM

    I'm doing a Game of Thrones rewatch (just in time for the new season), and tonight ...

    > for the unluckiest few—difficulty breathing, passing out, and even death.

    ... we watched S04E02 - /The Lion and the Rose/, sometimes known as "the purple wedding".
    --
    I was worried about my command. I was the scientist of the Holy Ghost.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @07:21PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @07:21PM (#528097)

    So that's how it happened; I must have been bitten by a lone star tick. Except I was living in Portland Oregon at the time when I developed a lifelong meat allergy, so I'm going to blame Michael David Crawford for ruining my entire life. Do you have any idea how much money I've wasted on organic vegan food when I could have been eating cheap meat instead.

    • (Score: 2) by jcross on Monday June 19, @07:35PM (7 children)

      by jcross (4009) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @07:35PM (#528102)

      It might not be lifelong. I've heard that after some years of avoiding exposure to the ticks, the allergy fades, and I know of at least one case of that being true.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @07:45PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @07:45PM (#528105)

        I think we should deport anybody who doesn't eat meat, no matter what their excuse is. "Allergy" my ass. They're a bunch of vegan Muslims and should be deported.

        • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday June 19, @08:10PM (2 children)

          by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @08:10PM (#528115) Homepage Journal

          And AC's too.

          'Cause!

          Earache, my eye! Turn down that MUSIC!!

          --
          --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
          • (Score: 2) by edIII on Monday June 19, @08:19PM (1 child)

            by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @08:19PM (#528121)

            Dude.... I'm listening to that song right now as I read your post........

            • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday June 19, @09:16PM

              by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 19, @09:16PM (#528154) Homepage Journal

              I know... that's why i posted it!

              By the way... you can take off the pink tutu now. :)

              --
              --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @08:07PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @08:07PM (#528114)

        AIDS can be cured by raping virgin girls, and you can't become infected again either.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @08:44PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @08:44PM (#528138)

          Doesn't that only work when combined with circumcision?

      • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Monday June 19, @09:16PM

        by vux984 (5045) on Monday June 19, @09:16PM (#528156)

        My brother in law developed a moderately short lived meat allergy (as in it lasted a few years) and then it went away. I wonder if it could be related to a tick bite. As I recall, he did travel to Houston, and to New Orleans around when it happened.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @09:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 19, @09:10PM (#528149)

    Naughty spawn, you face The Tick!

    Oh wait... wrong tick... my bad...

  • (Score: 5, Funny) by inertnet on Monday June 19, @09:24PM (2 children)

    by inertnet (4071) on Monday June 19, @09:24PM (#528159)

    I dated an alpha-gal once, but she gave me a meet allergy.

    • (Score: 2) by mmcmonster on Monday June 19, @10:42PM (1 child)

      by mmcmonster (401) on Monday June 19, @10:42PM (#528190)

      Heard the podcast about this a couple months ago.

      http://www.radiolab.org/story/alpha-gal/ [radiolab.org]

      Quite informative and interesting at the same time.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @12:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @12:20AM (#528229)

        Won't eat meat?! Deport her!

        I'm a Murcan! I don't care about medical crap! Transgenders say they have medical crap too but that's obviously an excuse! Deport them all!

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by corey on Monday June 19, @11:31PM (2 children)

    by corey (2202) on Monday June 19, @11:31PM (#528209)

    Yep, one bite from the lone star tick—which gets its name from the Texas-shaped splash of white on its back—is enough to reprogram your immune system to forever reject even the smallest nibble of perfectly crisped bacon.

    Ahh, Americans, bacon shouldn't be burnt (crisped)! Its better thick, juicy and lightly browned.

    • (Score: 0, Disagree) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @01:44PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @01:44PM (#528441)

      Gross

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @04:52PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 20, @04:52PM (#528579)

        bacon is some geek thing, right?

        it seemed to become some sort of geek phenomena in the late 90s and won't go away. it was just food before, but now it's achieved some sort of undeserved celebrity, like the Kardashians or Paris Hilton.

        at least Paris grew up.

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