Tick bites & what to do

Monthly Chronicle - - Health & Well-being - AS­SO­CI­ATE PRO­FES­SOR SH­ERYL VAN NUNEN

an adult tick is dis­turbed) d) and mam­malian meat al­lergy (be­gin­ning some weeks to months af­ter bites from nymphs or adults and oc­cur­ring two to 10 hours af­ter eat­ing mam­malian meat or mam­malian prod­ucts), range in sever­ity from gut ache to se­vere life-threat­en­ingg ana­phy­laxis, with four known­nown deaths in Aus­tralia due to tick ana­phy­laxis.

In our re­gion, 95% of tick bites in hu­mans are due to Ix­odes holo­cy­clus, or Aus­tralian paral­y­sis tick.

MamMam­malian meat al­lergy was first de­scribed by PrPro­fes­sor Sh­eryl van Nunen and col­leagues in 2007. The Syd­ney Basin has the high­est es­ti­mated preva­lence of mam­malian meat al­lergy in the world - 1113/100,000 com­pared to South­east­ern USA with 11/100,00010 and Ger­many 4/100100,000.00 Blame a po­tent mix of hu­mid mi­cro-cli­mate con­di­tions (which ticks thrive on) par­tic­u­larly on the Penin­sula as well as an in­crease in tick host num­bers and in­creas­ingly more peo­ple liv­ing in tick host re­gions like ours.

For those with this meat al­lergy, some­times the mere act of turn­ing on the fam­ily bar­be­cue is enough to trig­ger a meat al­lergy re­ac­tion.

“It’s what we call an emer­gent al­lergy,” said As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor Sh­eryl van Nunen, “be­cause only very few cases had been seen un­til about 2003 on­wards when a re­mark­able in­crease in cases oc­curred.” Cases of this al­lergy have now been re­ported in North Amer­ica, Europe, Korea and Ja­pan, Panama and Africa‘s Ivory Coast. Mam­malian meat al­lergy is the only al­lergy where we know what has caused the al­lergy - a tick bite!

So pre­ven­tion is key, be­cause a sin­gle tick bite can be suf­fi­cient to gen­er­ate th­ese al­ler­gies in those sus­cep­ti­ble.

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