NEW YORK (AP) - A tick bite might make you a vegetarian, or at least make you swear off red meat.
Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by Lone Star ticks, which are found in the Southwest and eastern half of the U.S.
This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread to more areas. Eating a burger or steak landed some people in the hospital.
The bugs harbor a type of sugar humans don't have but that is found in red meat. The tick bite conveys the sugar to the bloodstream, and the immune system can go overboard reacting to the foreign substance.
Doctors say the allergy is one more reason to avoid ticks.
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture says the lone star tick is found in western and southern Kentucky but is becoming more common in central and eastern counties of the state.