Categories: Health & Fitness

Worrying meat allergies following tick bites

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A tick bite could trigger a mysterious, life-threatening meat allergy, reports a Scottish health authority.

Tick ​​bites could, in rare cases, trigger an allergic reaction to meatwith the appearance of life-threatening symptoms such as skin rashes, nausea, difficulty breathing, severe stomach pain, or anaphylactic shockreports an article from the DailyMail of July 23, 2023, using data from the National Health Service (NHS) of Highland in Scotland. This surprising allergy is called “Alpha-Gal Syndrome” (AGS for the acronym in English)which is triggered by a specific sugar found in meat such as game (wild boar, venison, etc.), beef, rabbit, lamb or pork (bacon, charcuterie, sausages…). This molecule can also be present in dairy products and those containing animal gelatin, such as some sweets and medicines. In contrast, alpha-gal is not found in fish, reptiles or poultry. The tick bite would be able to transfer a sugar molecule (called alpha-galactose) present in the meat into the body of the bitten person which, in certain cases, could provoke an immune reaction, usually appearing 2 to 6 hours after eating meat or dairy products, indicate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the United States. Alpha-Gal Syndrome was first reported by researchers in the US state of Virginia in 2009. The allergic reaction is variable from one person to another and more or less serious.

Skin symptoms of a meat allergy © US Centers for Diseases control and prevention

What to do in case of symptoms suggestive of a meat allergy?

Alpha-Gal Syndrome should be immediately treated and managed by an allergist or other healthcare professional. Since many foods and products contain alpha-gal, the patient and his doctor must discuss the context of the onset of the allergy to understand which products should be avoided. Most healthcare professionals recommend that patients stop eating mammalian meat (such as beef, pork, lamb, venison, rabbit) and depending on the severity of the allergic reaction, avoid other foods and ingredients that may contain alpha-gal (such as cow’s milk, dairy products and gelatin). Very rarely, some people with severe SGA may react to the ingredients in certain vaccines or medications. You should talk to your healthcare professional before taking any new medicine or receiving a vaccine.

Hikers and workers in the meat sector particularly at risk

Rest assured, the cases of this strange allergy remain rarebut tend to increase, reports the Scottish NHS which is about to carry out further research on the mechanism of this allergic reaction. The number of people affected is difficult to estimate, but of 55 people on the NHS Highland ward, 2 had family members with allergies. “We are aware that this is likely to be problematic for Scotland, in particular Highland, due to our high level of ticks partly linked to climate change“, worries Frances Hines, head of research, development and innovation at NHS Highland, whose partner suffers from this disease. Hikers and meat workers are particularly at risk and must be particularly careful. In France, in 2017 according to the Allergo-vigilance Network (RAV), meat allergy accounted for 3.4% of anaphylactic food allergies (for 466 declared and analyzed observations). Finally, as a reminder, ticks are found in grassy, ​​brushy and wooded areas and are also responsible for the transmission of Lyme diseasewhich can cause neurological symptoms.

#Worrying #meat #allergies #tick #bites

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