Sunday, February 18, 2024

Tick Bite Causes Meat Allergy

After A Lone Star Tick Bite Reactions Can Range From Itching To Anaphylactic Shock

How A Bite From A ‘Lone Star’ Tick Can Trigger Severe Allergy To Meat

Lone star tick bites are likely the cause of thousands of cases of severe red meat allergies. This condition, known as alpha-gal syndrome, is plaguing patients in Southeastern states including Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia, spreading up the Eastern Seaboard along with the deer population.

Vanderbilts Asthma, Sinus and Allergy Program has seen many people in recent years who are allergic to alpha-gal, a type of sugar present in red meat.

The lone star tick has alpha-gal sugar in its gut, and introduces it to a persons system when it bites. The human immune system produces an antibody that reacts if the person eats meat.

New Warning Of Surge In Tick Activity As Americans Head Outdoors

The symptoms can include hives, redness, itching and swelling. Some patients complain of intense gastrointestinal distress, like abdominal cramping and pain, Commins said. People can end up with anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency treatment, he added. Most of his patients carry Epi pens.

The allergy involves red meat like beef, pork or lamb and, in some cases, dairy especially heavy-fat dairy like ice cream. Doctors aren’t sure whether it only takes one lone star tick bite or several for people to develop the sensitivity, but anyone, including children, can develop it, Commins said.

The treatment is avoidance, so patients are limited to eating meat from fish, chicken and turkey.

If it swims or flies, its fine, Commins said.

If youre my age, youve got a cardiologist whos been telling you the treatment already, and that is avoid red meat completely, and dont eat full-fat milk and cheese, said Platts-Mills, who is in his 70s.

What Tick Causes The Red Meat Allergy

One little bugger the lone star tick appears to be the main source of AGS in the United States. The tick has long called southeastern states home, but its range has now expanded into the Midwest and Northeast.

The lone star tick is very aggressive, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Its most active from early spring through late fall.

The name comes from the appearance of the adult female, which has a single white dot or lone star on its back. Aside from AGS, its bite can lead to Lyme disease, Heartland virus, Bourbon virus and Southern tick-associated rash illness .

However, other tick species havent been ruled out as potential sources of AGS. There are other parts of the world where this phenomenon has been identified, and the lone star tick is not there, notes Dr. Perez.

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Diagnosis For Tick Meat Allergy:

A clinician or allergist can identify induced red meat allergy by doing a meat allergy test following a blood test and submitting the sample of blood to a laboratory for clinical examination.

Patients commonly self-diagnose alpha-gal allergy utilizing web resources, oral meal challenges, and rational thinking. Testing for IgE antibody titers against the alpha-gal molecule is the most accurate approach to detecting tick meat allergy. Unfortunately, the associated increased cost and scarcity of this test restrict its use. On the other hand, skin prick testing is commonly used to detect IgE-related food allergies. As delayed responses and false-negative findings are recorded, the procedure and validity of the skin prick testing for alpha-gal allergy are being questioned.

Prevention Tips To Avoid Tick Meat Allergy:

Pin on Camping/Hiking

Avoiding contact with lone star ticks can help you avoid developing a red meat allergy. The most prevalent tick species that bite individuals in Virginia are lone star ticks. If the individual has a record of an earlier developed tick meat allergy, they should avoid all mammalian meats. Some peoples allergies will fade over time, especially if they dont get bitten by a lone star tick again.

You may contact our healthcare practitioners if you do have questions about an acquired tick bite red meat allergy. Make a call to Family Medicine Austin`s clinic today to get instant assistance from our experts.

I am Jeannette, the medical writing specialist here at Family Medicine Austin. I have over five years of experience working with a range of medical and healthcare across the U.S.

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Cases Have Been Reported Across The World

According to Professor van Nunen’s research, cases of mammalian meat allergy have been reported in the United States, Europe, Asia, Central America, South America and Africa.

In Australia, those who live in the east, where the Australian paralysis tick or Ixodes holocyclus is present, are most at risk.

But in late 2016, a case of mammalian meat allergy was diagnosed in a man bitten by the Ixodes australiensis in Denmark, Western Australia, suggesting there may be another species of tick that can induce the condition.

“I thought no, this is all in the eastern states. This can’t be here but sure enough it all came up positive when I got the official result,” John Cooke said.

Mr Cooke, Ms Pither and Ms Pearce now avoid all mammalian products and take extra precautions to avoid further tick bites, which could increase their sensitivity.

Ms Pearce, now petrified of living in Sydney, moved to Hobart.

“I needed to move to a place that was tick free,” she said.

” made me scared. Just the simple act of hanging the washing on the line felt like swimming with sharks.”

What Should I Do If I Have Ags

  • AGS should be treated and managed under the care of an allergist or other healthcare provider.
  • Many foods and products contain alpha-gal you will need to work with your healthcare provider to understand which products you need to avoid.
  • Prevent tick bites. New tick bites may reactivate allergic reactions to alpha-gal.

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The Development Of Mammalian Meat Allergy

Restating the work of Galili , if an epigenetic influence was brought to bear upon the higher primates, that is, if the production of anti-Gal was evolutionarily advantageous in the context of exposure to an infectious agent or agents many, many years ago, then for those higher primates capable of inactivating the alpha-galactosyltransferase gene, there would exist a selective pressure towards their survival. The resultant loss of tolerance for -Gal would then set the scene for the development of an allergy to -Gal in otherwise susceptible individuals.

This allergy to -Gal develops only in those who are predisposed. Alpha-Gal allergy appears to be expressed more severely when relatively large amounts of -Gal enter the blood stream over a short period. The temporal dependency of mammalian meat allergy following tick bites has been documented ex vivo by Commins et al. . The allergen is likely transferred via the lymphatics to drain back into the central circulation . The recent case reports by Mozzicato et al. of short-lived perioperative or postoperative allergic reactions in -Gal positive patients following their receipt of their bovine or porcine valve bio-prostheses are also in keeping with this mechanism and its temporal dependency, as the reactions seen mimicked the anaphylactic reactions seen in mammalian meat allergy.

What Is The Treatment For Tick Bite

Lone Star Tick Could Cause Unique Allergy To Meat

The prevention of tick bites is paramount through both using insect repellents and avoiding forested areas.

People with tick bite-induced red meat allergy should avoid red meat and other substances with alpha-gal.

The treatment of the allergic response includes antihistamines, oral steroids, and, in the case of anaphylaxis, adrenaline.

The use of desensitisation by exposing the patient to large amounts of alpha-gal is undergoing investigation .

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Large Local Reactions To Tick Bites

Large local reactions to tick bites , due to their clinical similarities to venom-induced large local reactions , in the majority of cases are likely to be late phase reactions mediated by tick specific-IgE .

Confluent large local reactions to 2 tick bites . Adapted with permission of Stephen L. Doggett, Senior Hospital Scientist, Pathology West, ICPMR , Westmead Hospital, Locked Bag 9001, Westmead NSW 2145, Australia.

How Is Tick Bite

Patients often self-diagnose alpha-gal allergy by using online sources of information, oral food challenges, and logical reasoning .

The most accurate method of diagnosing tick bite-induced allergy is by testing for IgE titres against the alpha-gal molecule. However, the high cost and lack of availability of this test limit its use .

IgE-associated food allergies are usually tested for by skin prick testing. The protocol and accuracy of the skin prick test for alpha-gal allergy are debated, as delayed reactions and false-negative results are reported .

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This Tick Can Make You Allergic To Meat And Its Spreading

Work on genetically modified pigs might provide a solution to the strange illness

Kristina Carlson didnt think much about the tick she pulled off her torso while she was hiking in the mountains of North Carolina in September 2020. But back home in Mississippi a month later, Carlson complained to her doctor of aching joints and a bloated feeling in her stomach. Her doctor ruled out rheumatoid arthritis, and a blood test didnt turn up anything definitive. Then Carlson started having eye infections. In February 2021 she suddenly found a strange rash on her face an urgent-care facility doctor treated her for shingles, but the rash didnt get better.

When she returned to her doctors office, a nurse practitioner asked, Do you remember having a tick bite? This led to another blood test that revealed antibodies associated with alpha-gal, a sugar found in the meat and fat of nonprimate mammals.

Alpha-gal syndrome is an allergic reaction that can arise after someone is bitten by a lone star tick. Named for the white dot on the back of adult females, the ticks are historically located in the south central and southeastern U.S. They transmit the alpha-gal molecule from mammals theyve fed on to people they bite.

*Editors Note : This sentence was edited after posting to clarify the type of tick surveillance program Richard S. Ostfeld says the U.S. lacks.

Therapeutic Considerations In Mammalian Meat Allergy

Red Meat Allergy from Lone Star Tick Bite

Before initiating treatment with certain therapeutic agents , a careful assessment of the risk of anaphylaxis, including serological analysis for -Gal specific-IgE, should be undertaken in any individual who works, lives, volunteers or recreates in a tick endemic area, particularly where a history is obtained of a tick bite prior, or of mammalian meat or gelatine allergy.

Both physicians and pharmacists need to inform mammalian meat allergic patients of the risks inherent in taking cetuximab as fatal reactions have occurred with its use . The risk of fatal anaphylaxis is well documented and well known to allergic diseases physicians, however, this risk still needs to be known to patients before they receive therapy with cetuximab. Sources of gelatine in therapeutic agents should be flagged e.g., in vaccines, capsules, tablets and suppositories and in collagen-containing agents . Physicians, pharmacists and health supplement purveyors need to be aware of the implications of any mammalian meat-derived content in proprietary products e.g., bovine colostrum.

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Health & Wellnesswoman Develops Meat Allergy Triggered By Tick Bite: ‘eating Out Is A Huge Risk’

Experts who have been monitoring the strange sensitivity, known as alpha-gal syndrome, say the number of people affected just keeps rising. One study warned its prevalence has been “drastically” increasing.

There were more than 34,000 documented cases in the U.S. alone between 2010 and 2018, suggesting alpha-gal syndrome “is an increasingly recognized public health problem,” researchers reported in January 2021 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Arkansas, Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Missouri had the highest number of positive cases per 100,000 people.

Indeed, the Southeast has the most number of cases reported in the U.S., “which correlates with the expanding geographic distribution of lone star ticks,” according to a report prepared for the government’s Tick-Borne Disease Working Group.

The rising numbers worry Dr. Scott Commins, an allergist and associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

It does seem like its really growing, Commins, who was one of the first doctors to study alpha-gal syndrome, told TODAY. His clinic now sees 18 to 20 new patients a week on average with the allergy, he said as the summer of 2022 was about to get underway.

Tiny Tick Bite Can Trigger Dangerous Meat Allergy

In May, Jessica Sanford of Jefferson City woke up in the middle of the night covered in hives and struggling to breathe. She didnt know why. It wasnt until she experienced the same symptoms three more times the next week that she was able to trace them to the pork she had eaten.

For several days afterward I stayed away from pork and everything seemed to be OK, Sanford said. Then I had a burger at a baseball game and hours later experienced the same allergic reaction.

Even avoiding meat completely didnt prevent the allergy.

The most severe reaction occurred as a result of just cleaning our barbeque grill, Sanford said. I guess I breathed in some small particles of dust from the grate. Hours later I experienced the same kind of allergic reaction. However, this time it was so severe that I ended up in the emergency room in anaphylactic shock. Now I have to carry an EpiPen. I was beyond scared and felt very anxious every night knowing that I might wake up covered in hives, or worse.

Sanford saw Christine Franzese, MD, an allergist with University of Missouri Health Care and a professor of otolaryngology at the MU School of Medicine, who pinpointed the cause: a tick bite Sanford had gotten two weeks earlier.

Lone Star ticks are found throughout the eastern and southeastern half of the United States. People exposed to the sugar through a Lone Star tick bite develop antibodies against alpha gal. In some cases, this results in an allergy to mammalian meat.

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Kate Reacted Three Times Before Getting A Diagnosis

It was 10 days before Ms Pearce found herself in hospital. But for Kate Pither, it took four years to discover she had the allergy.

“The first time, I’d been to a barbecue. I woke up at about 3:00am with all these welts across my back. I didn’t think anything of it. I can’t even remember if I had any antihistamine at the time,” she said.

“The second time I was at a barbecue and the same thing happened, but it was a little worse. A bit more on my back and all over me. I remember thinking at the time that maybe I shouldn’t eat charcoal.

“The third time I had had a lamb meal. As the night wore on welts were coming up my legs and worked their way up my body. I remember very clearly my lips started to go numb, all on one side.”

“I was quite aware I was having some sort of reaction. But to what? I didn’t have a clue.”

When Kate went to an immunologist, she was told she had a classic case of mammalian meat allergy.

She’d lived in Newport on the northern beaches, where ticks are common, and had had some big reactions to tick bites.

“I remember having one on the side of my head and it came up really big like an egg,” she said.

But mammalian meat allergy isn’t limited to Sydney.

Can I Get Ags From A Tick Bite

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  • Growing evidence suggests that AGS may be triggered by the bite of a lone star tick in the United States, but other kinds of ticks have not been ruled out. Other tick species have been connected with the development of AGS in other countries.
  • More research is needed to understand the role ticks play in starting this reaction, and why certain people develop AGS.

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Is It On The Rise

Originally found primarily in the southeastern U.S., the disease may become more common in farther north and western regions that experience warming temperatures. Cases of the tick-borne illness have been popping up as far north as Long Island, New York, and as far west as Minnesota.

The Centers for Disease Control do not log cases of Alpha-Gal allergy syndrome, so most reports of the disease’s rise are anecdotal.

“Five years ago, we probably had about 50 or so patients that had Alpha-Gal . Now we have about 200,” said Stone. However, until cases were first identified in the past decade, little to none was known about the origin of this meat allergy.

“The awareness of Alpha-Gal has grown,” noted Stone. “It’s also possible that because allergies in general are going up, reactions to Alpha-Gal are increasing.”

Studies have documented that warming temperatures have led to an increase in plant-based allergies from allergens like pollen.

Stone believes advancements in hygiene have led to a weakening of some of the natural immunity we develop to fight allergies.

In an interview with USA Today, Purvi Parikh from the Allergy and Asthma Network warned that as the climate has warmed, ticks have begun to spread their territory farther north.

Symptoms Of Tick Bite Red Meat Allergy:

Hives, swelling of skin and tissue called angioedema, problems with gastrointestinal functions, diarrhea, runny nose, headaches, wheezing, and a decrease in blood pressure, and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis can all be symptoms of a tick meat allergy.

An allergic response usually develops four to eight hours after ingesting the red meat. This delay in allergy reaction is rare since most of the food allergies arise shortly after the offending item is consumed.

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Who Can Develop Tick Meat Allergies

Tick meat allergies can emerge in a small fraction of people affecting both adults and children who have been bitten by a lone star tick. It is still unknown how often tick red meat allergy sensitivity occurs. It is linked to a tick bite history. If it is not known in a timely manner, the danger could be increased by multiple tick bites.

The tick meat allergy develops in persons who are exposed to ticks owing to their geographic location or work. For example, forestry service professionals and hunters in particular nations are more likely than the general population to contain alpha-gal specific immunoglobulin E and develop tick meat allergies. Tick bite red meat allergy can be exacerbated by systemic mastocytosis.

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