Addiction Sameness

Alcohol, Opiates, Fat and Sugar are all Addictive Substances: this blog is about that "addiction sameness".

Monday, August 11, 2014

Texas Tick Causes Meat Allergy


A tick bite can make you allergic to red meat


An adult female deer tick (L), dog tick and Lone Star tick are shown in the palm of a hand.  GETTY IMAGES


A bug can turn you into a vegetarian, or at least make you swear off red meat. 


Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by a certain kind of tick.

This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread from the Southwest and the East to more parts of the United States.

In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has landed people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.

Few patients seem aware of the risk, and even doctors are slow to recognize it.
 As one allergist who has seen 200 cases on New York's Long Island said, "Why would someone think they're allergic to meat when they've been eating it their whole life?"
The culprit is the Lone Star tick, named for Texas, a state famous for meaty barbecues. The tick is now found throughout the South and the eastern half of the United States.

Researchers think some other types of ticks also might cause meat allergies; cases have been reported in Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Korea.


Here's how it happens: 
The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don't have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat - beef, pork, venison, rabbit - and even some dairy products. It's usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.
But a tick bite triggers an immune system response
, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim's bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar.
At the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, "I see two to three new cases every week," said Dr. Scott Commins, who with a colleague, Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills, published the first paper tying the tick to the illness in 2011.
Allergic reactions can be treated with antihistamines to ease itching, and more severe ones with epinephrine. Some people with the allergy now carry epinephrine shots in case they are stricken again.

Doctors don't know if the allergy is permanent.
 Some patients show signs of declining antibodies over time, although those with severe reactions are understandably reluctant to risk eating meat again. Even poultry products such as turkey sausage sometimes contain meat byproducts and can trigger the allergy.



Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-tick-bite-can-make-you-allergic-to-red-meat/

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