There aren’t many things that could be worse for hunters than being allergic to meat. Unfortunately, for thousands of people in the southeastern United States, this is reality. According to the National Institutes of Health, allergies to meat are being caused by a bite from the Lone Star tick. Researchers published a report that shows the ticks are responsible for the meat allergy.
People suffering from this new allergy are unable to consume any type of mammalian meat (like beef, pork, lamb, and venison) without consequence. Patients have reported symptoms which include hives, which are raised and often itchy, red welts on the surface of the skin and acute anaphylaxis (a dangerous and potentially fatal allergic reaction). The reactions are serious enough to require hospitalization in some cases and all of the reactions are enough to lead an affected individual to avoid mammalian meat. The reaction seems to occur anywhere from 3-6 hours after eating meat.
Blood tests of affected individuals have shown elevated levels of IgE antibodies to the mammalian oligosaccharide galactose-α-1. This galactose is found in significant quantities in most mammalian meat. The elevated levels of IgE antibodies produce an severe allergic reaction after individuals consume meat containing the galactose. This could be especially unfortunate for outdoorsmen and women who usually spend more time in areas with ticks than other persons.
Veiw the full report on the lone star tick and meat allergies here.