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Research ticks new boxes on meat allergy

By Carina Perkins , 25-Jul-2012

A US study has uncovered a link between tick bites and severe allergic reactions to red meat.

The research, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, examined three patients who had experienced delayed anaphylaxis to meat, a new syndrome which has emerged in the US. They discovered that all three patients had been bitten by the Lone Star Tick.

The scientists said the reaction could be caused by antibodies to a carbohydrate substance, alpha-gel, that is produced in a patient’s blood after the tick bite. Alpha-gel is also present in meat and eating meat causes the immune system to release of histamine in response to the substance.

Delayed anaphylaxis is a life-threatening condition that can occur three to six hours after eating foods that trigger the allergy. Symptoms start with itching, progressing to hives, swelling, intestinal irritation, airway constriction, chaotic heart beat and a rapid drop in blood pressure.

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