People who have serious but mysterious allergy attacks might be suffering from a meat allergy caused by a tick bite, government researchers said Tuesday.
Theyve been running a study on unexplained attacks of anaphylaxis the life-threatening response to a true allergy. Close to 10 percent of the people recruited so far for the study turned out to have an allergy thats transmitted by a tick.
"Alpha-gal allergy appears to be yet another reason to protect oneself from tick bites," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
"Food allergies can range from an inconvenience to a life-threatening condition and pose a serious and growing public health problem that urgently requires more research."
The ticks, called Lone Star ticks, carry a sugar molecule that humans don't have, called galactose-a-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal for short.
Related: Allergies to red meat linked to tick bites are on the rise
Many mammals, but not humans, also carry this sugar in their bodies so it is ...