Alpha-Gal “Red Meat” Allergy: A Serious Condition Caused by a Tick Bite Alpha-gal "red meat" allergy develops after a person has been bitten by a lone star tick and becomes allergic to meat.

By Dorothy Kupcha Leland

A t the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group’s virtual meeting on February 12, 2018, four of the eight people giving public verbal comments talked about the alpha-gal “red meat” allergy, also known as alpha-gal syndrome (AGS).

AGS develops after a person has been bitten by a lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) and becomes seriously allergic to meat and products that contain mammalian ingredients, such as glue, gelatin capsules, and natural flavorings. AGS is not thought to be a tick-borne infection per se, but rather an immune response to a substance carried in the tick’s gut.

The four people giving public comment at that meeting were Beth Carrison-van der Heide, Jennifer Burton, Tim Opiela, and Jennifer Platt. They spoke about their own experiences with AGS and of the need for recognition of the problem on a wide variety of levels. 

Jennifer Burton said, “I was diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome after months of battling the common escalating symptoms of AGS—extreme fatigue, joint pain, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, GI distress and bloating, angioedema, urticaria, and four anaphylactic episodes (two nearly fatal).”…… Join or login below to continue reading.

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