Lone star tick, showing up in Southern Wisconsin, can make you allergic to red meatExperts say the lone star tick, a species prevalent down south, is now close to being established in the southern part of Wisconsin.
By: By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Experts say the lone star tick, a species prevalent down south, is now close to being established in the southern part of Wisconsin.
It's still considered a rare tick in the region, and is not anywhere near as common as deer ticks. University of Wisconsin entomology professor Susan Paskewitz says only a dozen lone start ticks have been found in six Wisconsin counties.
But their low numbers still present a public health concern. They can transmit a pathogen called ehrlichia chaffeensis (also known as human monocytic ehrlichiosis) that can cause fever, muscle aches and fatigue.
“I don't think that is something most doctors would be looking for in our state,” says Paskewitz.
There's a second reaction to being bitten by the lone star tick: developing an allergy to red meat.
Paskewitz speculates warmer winters may have allowed the tick to venture outside its usual area, or the pest itself has adapted.
“It's also showing up in parts of Illinois where it never showed up,” says Paskewitz. “It's also moved into parts of Maine where it didn't used to occur.”
The ticks are reddish brown in color. Females have a white splotch or “star” on their back.
Paskewitz is asking anyone who finds a lone star tick to take a picture or send in the actual arachnid to UW-Madison's entomology department.