So you really like your meat? You may want to think twice if you have been biten by a tick recently. The University of Virginia researchers say saliva that sneaks into the tiny wound from the lone star tick may trigger a strong allergic reaction to meat.
“People will eat beef and then anywhere from three to six hours later start having a reaction; anything from hives to full-blown anaphylactic shock,” said Dr. Scott Commins telling ABC News. He is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “And most people want to avoid having the reaction, so they try to stay away from the food that triggers it.” Researchers also say it could be new tick spreading.
The lone star tick can be found from Texas to Maine and all up and down the East Coast of the United States. According to Dr. Commins when the tick bites you, some saliva mixes in and triggers the agonizing allergy. Commins has seen over 400 cases of the meat allergy this year — 90 percent of whom have a history of tick bites. The allergy is known as known as galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal for short. It is affecting more than 1,500 Americans. The researchers suspect there are many more unidentified cases. Doctors have seen dangerous cases in New York where patients have passed out in their bathrooms. If you are surrounded by ticks and love eating meat carring a epinephrine auto-injector may be well worth it.
There is currently no treatment for this allergy. If you feel your are experiencing this you will need to get medical attention within 3 hours or sooner if you can. The best you can do is avoid being biten by a tick in the first place.
If you are surrounded by ticks would you stop eating meat to avoid the allergy?