What is alpha-gal, the red meat allergy tied to tick bites?

It’s bad enough that ticks are transmitting Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Now there is growing evidence that cases of a potentially life-threatening meat allergy linked to the bite of the lone star tick are on the rise.

Called alpha-gal syndrome, it causes an allergic reaction to the consumption of red meat products including beef, lamb and pork, says Trenton Honda, an environmental epidemiologist and clinical professor at Northeastern’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences.

AGS is associated with the bite of the lone star tick, but unlike allergic reactions to bee stings, symptoms don’t usually emerge until two to six hours later, Honda says.

“You can imagine that would complicate the ability to identify the offending agent,” says Honda, who is also a physician assistant.

Reactions can range from life-threatening anaphylaxis to hives, nausea and symptoms resembling irritable bowel syndrome, he says.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.