Tags: tick | red meat | allergy | humans

Ticks: Red Meat Allergy Caused in Humans by Bite From Bug

Image: Ticks: Red Meat Allergy Caused in Humans by Bite From Bug
Close up of lone star or seed tick in macro on a male finger. (dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 08:25 PM

Researchers have tied the bite of a certain kind of tick with a red meat allergy in humans, and doctors are seeing a surge as the tick population spreads.

In the past few years, the medical community discovered that the Lone Star tick can cause people to become allergic to red meat, although few people seem to be aware of the risk.

An allergist in Long Island, New York, told The Associated Press he’s seen 200 cases of red meat allergies caused by ticks.

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Patients who aren’t aware of the situation can end up in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.

Researchers around the world also think other types of ticks might have the same effect on people, and cases have been reported worldwide.

The physiological mechanism behind the allergy involves a sugar, called alpha-gal, that is found in the tick and also in meats like beef, pork, venison, and rabbit. When the tick bites a person, the body’s immune system creates antibodies to fight off the invader. Afterward, when a person eats red meat, the same immune reaction may occur.

Science Daily reported that the cases of red meat allergies are showing up across the Southeastern states, and along the Eastern seaboard as deer transport the bugs.

September Norman told Science Daily that she and her husband visited Tennessee and woke up with her hands feeling like they were on fire.

"I drank two bottles of water, sat on the sofa, and it wasn't five minutes before I felt my tongue and lip swelling and told my husband that something was wrong,” she said. “I could barely talk at that point my tongue was so thick. He turned on the lights and his eyes looked like saucers."

Dr. Erin McGintee, a New York allergy specialist, told the AP, “It is bizarre. It goes against almost anything I've ever learned as an allergist," as the symptoms sometimes occur hours after eating meat, rather than right away.

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Researchers have tied the bite of a certain kind of tick with a red meat allergy in humans, and doctors are seeing a surge as the tick population spreads.
tick, red meat, allergy, humans
353
2014-25-07
Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 08:25 PM
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