Delayed allergic reaction to meat

There has been medical reports of delayed reaction to red meat in which a person, after having had steak or meats (sausages,meatballs) will develop symptoms of anaphylaxis (hives, shortness of breath, swelling, low blood pressure). What is unusual is that the symptoms occur 3-6 hours after eating the meat. Usually food anaphylaxis occurs within minutes to an hour after eating the culprit food.



Turns out that these patients were actually sensitized to a component of mamalian meat after being bitten by ticks! After being bitten by the culprit tick, the person develops an IgE (allergic antibody) to a component found in mamalian meat named alpha-gal (Galactose-α-1,3-galactose). In the United States of America, the tick responsible for this disease is the lone star tick. This same tick is also responsible for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.



Patients who have IgE antibodies to alpha-gal with delayed allergic reaction to meats should avoid beef, pork or lamb. However, poultry such as chicken or turkey does not seem to be a problem. It is important to keep this condition in mind when considering unusual presentations of allergic reactions. A qualified Allergy & Immunology specialist can help evaluate for food allergies


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