Relationship between meat allergy and tick bite

The rate of Americans developing a rare meat allergy from tick bites is said to be rising.

The BBC says this is because researchers opine that this may have already impacted as many as 450,000 people.

The new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a steep increase in cases of alpha-gal syndrome.

Reports say the allergy triggers a possibly life-threatening reaction to several types of meat or animal products.

US scientists have however traced alpha-gal to saliva from the lone star tick, identified by the white spot on its back.

It is mainly found in southern and eastern parts of the US, but experts have warned that their range is expanding due to climate change.

Blood-sucking bites from the lone star, formally called the Amblyomma americanum, can make a person sick when they consume particular meat and animal products made from mammals.

The list of dangerous foods for people suffering from alpha-gal syndrome includes pork, beef, rabbit, lamb, venison, gelatine, milk, some dairy products and certain pharmaceuticals.

Symptoms from the little-understood syndrome include stomach cramps, diarrhoea, hives and shortness of breath that could trigger fatal anaphylaxis.

The CDC says Alpha-gel syndrome reactions can be different from person to person, ranging from mild to severe or even life-threatening.

This is because Anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction involving multiple organ systems, may need urgent medical care, although the BBC says people may not have an allergic reaction after every alpha-gal exposure.

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