Tick Bites Causing Meat Allergy

Posted on Aug 8, 2014

Tick bite meat allergy


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.

Click here for the full article…