Carnivores Beware: Red Meat Allergy Caused By Lone Star Tick Bite
A new species of tick, the Lone Star Tick, has been creeping its way up to New Jersey from the Southern States. Although the tick does not cause Lyme Disease, a bite from the Lone Star Tick may cause an allergy to red meat. The allergen injected when bit has been identified as galactose-α-1,3-galactose (alpha gal). Fortunately, commercial tests for alpha gal IgE tests have became available for diagnosis which can be ordered conveniently from our office. Following a bite, typical symptoms include: fatigue, headache, fever, and muscle and joint pains. Delayed symptoms include: urticaria or anaphylaxis appearing 4–8 hours after consumption of red meat. To protect yourself from any tick bites, be sure to wear light colors and use plenty of bug spray while venturing outside in dense woods and bushy areas. If you find a tick on your skin, remove and save it in a container to bring to a health care professional. Contact our office if you encounter these symptoms and suspect an Alpha Gal / Red Meat allergy!