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Show 830: Alpha-Gal Allergy

Show 830: Alpha-Gal Allergy

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The aftermath of a tick bite could be a life-threatening delayed allergic reaction to red meat.

In some parts of the country, emergency room physicians have been faced with a puzzling scenario: the patient awakens in the middle of the night with unbearable itching, hives, low blood pressure or trouble breathing. Usually, such an anaphylactic reaction is an immediate response to an exposure like an insect sting. But these people have been in bed for hours.

We talk with a patient who had this frightening experience and with the allergist who treated him. We also learn about the discovery of this improbable allergy to red meat, triggered by the bite of a tick.

The Guests:

Mike Beck is a health and welfare consultant with Hill, Chesson & Woody.

Maya Jerath, MD, PhD, is MikeÕs doctor. She is director of the UNC Allergy and Immunology Clinic and assistant professor in Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Thomas Platts-Mills, MD, is professor of medicine and microbiology at the University of Virginia and head of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. He is past president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). You can find an abstract of his May, 2011, article here.

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