Ticks Cause Red Meat Allergy -- Erika Kurre
Updated: Wednesday, August 20 2014, 10:46 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, TN - A sudden allergy to red meat.
One midstate doctor is diagnosing as many as a patient per week.
There's very little known about the allergy including whether it is permanent and it's traced back to ticks.
The Lone Star Tick is the culprit.
One bite from the tiny insect could have you re-thinking your next meal.
Gayle Bryant found herself at the doctors office with a rash that began on her neck and seemed untreatable.
No medicine seemed to help but a change in her diet did.
TriStar Summit Medical Center Dr. Lee Bryant has seen this before.
After taking a blood sample, Gayle tested positive for galactose a-1, or alpha-gal.
It's a sugar carbohydrate found in red meat but doesn't affect humans when eaten because it doesn't enter the blood stream.
That is, until a Lone Star Tick bites.
Dr. Bryant says he saw his first case of it four years ago and the diagnoses are becoming more common.
As many as one patient per week is diagnosed with the issue in his office many not even knowing they had a tick bite.
Those with the condition can still eat seafood or poultry, just not red meat.
The issue is so new that doctor's don't know how long it'll last.
However, Dr. Bryant has noticed antibodies in some patients do drop over time so he re-tests his patients for the allergy every six months or so.
This condition is totally preventable by taking precautions against tick bites.
The CDC recommends avoiding tall grass and brush with leaf debris and use tick repellant.