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Imagine enjoying a hamburger at a summertime family cookout just to fall deathly ill hours later. And suddenly you're violently allergic to all red meats, forever.
With one tick bite, those bitten may have to avoid barbecues for the rest of their lives. This newly discovered - and extremely rare - allergy carried by ticks is perplexing and educating area doctors......But it exists, local allergists said. It could be deadly. And this allergy, the experts said, is permanent.
Patients were becoming severely allergic to red meats, beef pork, venison and lamb.
"They were going into allergic shock. Patients' throats would swell. They'd break out in hives from head to toe, they'd have trouble breathing. Their throats may swell shut, and they could go into shock or their blood pressures drop and lose unconsciousness," said Dr. Robert Cook of the Central TX Allergy and Asthma Center.
The disease is called " Alpha-gal ," short for Alpha-galactosidase. It's transferred by a tick bite, which causes a delayed allergic reaction to the sugars in mammal flesh for humans.