Tick bites can give you allergy to red meat

1 year 13 hours 8 minutes ago Friday, June 23 2017 Jun 23, 2017 Friday, June 23, 2017 4:36:00 PM CDT June 23, 2017 in News
By: Carolina Brigagao, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Pollen is not the only allergen that arrives with the warm summer weather. A specific type of tick can give someone an allergy to red meat. 

The amblyomma americanum, also know as the lone star tick, picks up galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal) after biting a mammal. When the tick later bites a human, it passes along the alpha-gal, a substance found in all red meats, including beef, pork, lamb and venison. When someone sensitized to alpha-gal eats meat, their immune system views the substance as an invader.

An alpha-gal allergy has various symptoms including hives, respiratory issues, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, low blood pressure and swollen lips, eyes, tongue and throat. In the worst case scenario, people can go into anaphylactic shock requiring immediate medical attention.

Gregory Lux, allergy and immunology pediatrics for Mercy Clinic in Springfield, said he has diagnosed 20 patients. Mercy Clinic doctors are currently treating about 50 cases of alpha-gal allergy. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't have data on the number of people who have developed the allergy, but Dr. Scott Commins, an associate professor of medicine in the allergy & immunology division at the University of North Carolina, estimates in the areas where the lone star tick is common, 1 to 5 percent will develop the allergy.

Most people bitten by a lone star tick, that develop the allergy and consume meat, might have difficulty associating eating red meat to the allergic reaction since the symptoms are delayed — three to six hours after exposure, compared to minutes for other food allergies. 

"Some just get terrible stomach upset and bad abdominal cramping six hours after eating beef," Commins said during an interview to NBC News. "We are concerned these patients are not coming in to get medical attention." 

Lux said people with an alpha-gal allergy can try to decrease their sensitivity by spending years without consuming meat and avoiding being bit by another tick, even though there is no cure for the sensitivity.  

The Center fo Disease Control and Prevention website has tips on avoiding tick bites. Some of the advices include: 

  • Avoid wooded and brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter.
  • Use repellent that contains 20 percent or more DEET.
  • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors.
  • Tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors.
  • Examine gear and pets.

The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and the Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services receives data on tick born diseases, but not on alpha-gal allergy.

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Bikers Against Child Abuse group met with children to discuss past altercations with abusers in their... More >>
2 hours ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 9:04:00 AM CDT June 24, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Columbia Water & Light's outage map showed 1,500 customers without power in central and northeastern Columbia Sunday morning.... More >>
2 hours ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 8:53:00 AM CDT June 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU has saved money and reduced emissions through its long-term energy efficiency programs. The university has reduced... More >>
3 hours ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 8:20:00 AM CDT June 24, 2018 in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS - An attorney is suing a nonprofit group connected to former Gov. Eric Greitens for its records. ... More >>
13 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 9:52:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Outside a sprawling mall in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, young single men and women walk... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 6:21:17 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - One softball player is setting her team up for success before she leaves for college. On Saturday,... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 4:54:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The discussion on community policing continues to ripple through Columbia after a citywide meeting Saturday. The City... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 3:31:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are investigating the shooting death of a man near a house in... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 3:12:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she was kicked out of a Virginia restaurant by its owner... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 2:47:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — The wife of a former University of Missouri football coach is helping her husband remember the details... More >>
21 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 2:18:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Reaching all generations was the goal of one Columbia woman on Saturday. Cheryl Miller is the president... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 1:03:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - Two teenage boys suffered serious injuries in an ATV accident Friday night, according to the Missouri State... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 9:34:00 AM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A national gathering in St. Louis in September will focus on election security. Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 7:54:00 AM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
FULTON - The city of Fulton kicked off their annual Street Festival in style Friday with live music, a carnival,... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 2:23:00 AM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 30-year-old inmate was charged Friday with capital murder in the shooting deaths of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 8:41:21 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - People will see a few more cars drive through town this weekend, as the city celebrates its annual... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 5:41:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE – Police said a technician at a local gas station found an internal skimmer device inside a gas pump... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 4:49:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A Fulton man could face more than 200 years in prison after being found guilty of 12... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 4:01:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 82°
12pm 87°
1pm 88°
2pm 89°
3pm 89°