Rickettsia endosymbiont is a broad term which includes any non-pathogenic Rickettsial bacterial species that lives within the tick. However, research suggests the presence of Rickettsia endosymbiont may speed up transmission time of Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease.
Alpha-Gal Syndrome: The Red Meat Allergy
Scientists have recently confirmed multiple cases in which bites from a lone star tick appear to cause an allergic reaction to red meat, known as Alpha-Gal syndrome. The allergy comes from the saliva of the tick and not a specific infectious agent. Even if the tick has no infection, you are still at risk for developing an allergy to red meat.
The saliva of a Lone star tick has a carbohydrate known as Alpha-gal which is similar in structure to a carbohydrate present in red meats. When the tick saliva enters your body, there is a chance your immune system will create antibodies against the Alpha-gal carbohydrate. Because the structure of these carbohydrates are so similar, the antibodies may mistake the red meat carbohydrate for the Alpha-gal carbohydrate, causing an allergic reaction that was meant for the tick saliva.
If you are concerned you may have developed a meat allergy due to a Lone star tick bite, make sure to contact your allergist to discuss available options.