Doctors have only in the past couple years started to become aware of this syndrome that can occur after a person is bitten by the The Lone Star tick (which is very prevalent in Missouri). This is a good article from the Columbia Missourian about this issue, and offers another reason to wear bug repellent and search for ticks after your children are in wooded areas…
A bug can turn you into 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 a certain kind of tick.
This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread from the Southwest and the East to more parts of the U. S. In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has landed people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.
Here’s how it happens: The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don’t have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat — beef, pork, venison, rabbit — and even some dairy products. It’s usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.
But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim’s bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.