A Rare Tick Bite Causes Red Meat Allergy

TICK SEASON IS HERE - BE CAREFUL

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Lone Star tick spreads rare disease.

Tick season is here and it’s no secret the parasites can transmit dangerous diseases.

However, now there is a relatively new and rare tick-borne disorder that causes an allergic reaction to red meat called, “alpha gal.”

A patient, Robert Downey, says “It was an absolute surprise, I had never heard of it, the nurses and even the admitting doctor in the hospital had never heard of this.”

April 24th of last year the avid fisherman was bitten by a tick.

Downey said, “And it was the only tick bite I had last year. I was afraid I was dying.”

After several trips to the hospital his doctor discovered the real problem.

Otolaryngologist, Dr Hilton McDonald said, “We’re not exactly sure how rare it is because so many people don’t know they have it.”

Alpha Gal is an allergy to mammalian meat. Meat that includes common staples like beef, pork and sheep.

Starting in the south, it has spread through the midwest and eastern parts of the country. It is carried by the Lone Star Tick.

“The red tick with a white dot in the back but those ticks start off small. It may just look like a normal seed tick, it may not look like a lone star tick, ” said  McDonald.

Aside from the painful allergic reactions, Downey says the most difficult aspect is getting use to the diet.

Down said, “The problem is the adjustment to continuous dieting , forever, three meals a day, of turkey, chicken and fish. And boy, the cravings for that double cheese burger gets – pretty high on the meter.”

As of now, a change in the diet is the only treatment.

“I came in, um, looking for a miracle,um, thinking that I would be one of those people that six months of chicken and I would be headed for the steak house today and that is clearly not going to be the case,” Downey lamented.

Alpha Gal symptoms include itching, hives, rash or in some cases anaphylactic shock.

Categories: Alabama News, Dee Armstrong, Georgia News, Health