Red Meat Allergy From Ticks
Posted on June 20 2018
(WSLS/WCMH) A woman in Roanoke, Virginia developed a meat allergy after being bitten by a tick in 2015.
"Two hours after I had a hamburger I started breaking out in hives," said Linda Wilson.
Dr. Saju Eapen, who specializes in asthma and allergies, said the symptoms are varied.
"People are bitten all the time. They can get many different problems with tick bites, like lime disease, or develop an allergy to red meats. You can get simple symptoms, such as hives and itching, but it can also lead to severe allergies and even death," said Eapen.
Since getting bitten by the tick she can no longer eat hamburgers, pork chops and bacon.
A type of tick that triggers a red meat allergy in humans has also been spotted in Ohio. Last year, experts said the Lone Star tick was seen in southern Ohio and was making its way toward central Ohio.
The Lone Star tick is identified by the single white dot in the middle of its back.
"It carries a couple of diseases all lumped under the category of ehrlichiosis," said Dr. Needham, Professor Emeritus at the Ohio State University.
Alpha-gal is a red meat allergy doctors and researchers believe is caused by Lone Star tick bites.
"All Lone Star ticks have the same mixture of chemicals. So what's different, is your reaction to their saliva. There is a small percent of the population that has this reaction to Lone Star tick saliva," says Needham.
Doctors at OSU say once a person develops a red meat allergy they will be allergic to meat for the rest of their lives.
Story re-posted from NBC News.