What do ticks, red meat, and anaphylaxis have in common?
Imagine one day, your favorite hamburger or steak attempts to kill you by closing your airway and dropping your blood pressure in an over exaggerated immune response, all because you were bit by a pin sized tick a few days earlier. There have been over 2,000 known cases in the US of people developing a severe allergic reaction to red meat after being bit by a tick. Researchers believe that it has to do with an antibody response to tick saliva. The body becomes wired to fight any exposure to a carbohydrate called alpha galactose that is present in the tissue of non-primate animals, aka red meat. Scientists are uncertain if the condition is permanent, but for some, the condition may be devastating.