Lone star tick that causes meat allergy found in CT

Posted: Updated:

The lone star tick -- known for carrying an illness that can make victims allergic to meat for life -- has come to Connecticut.

So far, the majority of the population resides on Manresa Island -- a secluded area in South Norwalk that is mostly closed to the public.

The tick is very common in the southeastern United States, but it's typically not seen here due to the climate. About 40 percent of them can cause the meat allergy in humans they bite. They have an identifying spot near the center of their backs that looks like a lone star.

Victims can have allergic reactions six to eight hours after consuming red meat. Symptoms can range from upset stomachs to hives to anaphylactic shock.

Kirby Stafford III, an entomologist with the state Department of Health, says officials have deployed a device from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to kill off the bugs.

"It's a feeding station with paint rollers that are treated with topical insecticide," Stafford says. "So when the deer come in to feed, they get treated and then kill the ticks that are on the animals."

A small amount of the ticks have also been recorded in Fairfield County. Anyone who is bitten should remove the entire tick, disinfect the area and send the bug to the Norwalk Health Department for further testing.

To discourage tick bites, experts say people can wear bug repellants, treat their clothes with the chemical permethrin and tuck their pant legs into their boots or socks.

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