Tick Bite Triggers Dangerous Meat Allergy

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , /

((Nats of Spraying))
Jessica Sanford is careful when she goes outside. A small tick bite became a life-changing event. “Removed the tick and didn’t think much
of it and then a few weeks later I started having allergic reactions.” It was frightening. “I woke up at night with hives and with
breathing issues.” Doctor Christine Franzese with University
of Missouri Health Care says the reaction comes from a food allergy linked to tick bites. People like Jessica have severe reactions
when eating meat. “You have to avoid all mammal meat, so that
includes deer, rabbit all kinds of game, pork and beef.” How does it happen? Ticks can carry a sugar molecule found in
the blood of mammals. The Lone Star tick is the primary culprit. This “alpha gal” sugar is not present
in human blood. When the tick bites it transfers the foreign
sugar to humans. The body develops antibodies, causing people
like Jessica to get sick when they eat mammalian meat such as pork and beef. But what’s unusual is the allergic reaction
after eating meat is sometimes delayed. “People have gone weeks to months trying
to figure out what is causing the reaction because it happened so far away from when
they ate the food.” Currently, there is no treatment available
other than avoiding meat until the allergy goes away, which could take two years. Until then, Jessica is being careful with
her food choices and trying to avoid ticks. (Nats of playing with dog)
From the University of Missouri Kent Faddis reporting.

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