BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Most severe allergic reactions to food occur within 20 minutes of exposure. But the reaction to red meat after a lone star tick bite is much different.
The lone star tick, which can trigger a life-threatening allergy to mammalian meat like beef, pork and lamb, is spreading far beyond where it originated in the southeastern U.S., scientists say.
The tick’s bite generates an allergy to a sugar molecule in red meat known as alpha-galactose, or “alpha-gal,” and can spark a life-threatening reaction with just a single bite of red meat, Business Insider reported.
“The weird thing about [this reaction] is it can occur within three to 10 or 12 hours, so patients have no idea what prompted their allergic reactions,” Dr. Ronald Saff, an allergist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine, told Business Insider.