Red Meat Allergy-The annual American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology meetings are going on now in San Francisco. We just got back from an extended vacation (cruise) and decided to go home, see the babies (our dogs) and get back to work.Postings arrive from the meeting. One that caught my attention - especially now living and working in 'deer' country here in south central Indiana - dealt with Red Meat Allergy. The article was very interesting, however it was from last year's meeting- so old news, but still can be interesting.
Jonathon Brestoff, MD, PhD from Washington University in St. Louis shares the observation that our blood type may protect us from this condition.
A tick gets a blood meal from another animal. That animal's blood has the alpha gal protein. The tick finds a human and through the 'bite' shares 'galactose-a-1,3 galactose' with the new host. This sensitizes the human to this antigen. Once sensitized, antibodies are made and when 'red meat' is eaten an allergic reaction occurs. The reaction does not follow the normal rule of a food allergy where we see reactions usually within 30 minutes after the exposure. This reaction, which can be severe (anaphylaxis) can happen 4-6 hours after the meal. Anaphylaxis in the middle of the night!
The observation was that if you have the 'B' blood group antigen- B or AB blood types, you have a decreased risk of ''alpha-gal'. The presence of 'B' blood tells the immune system to ignore that alpha gal from the tick. No antibodies are made to cause a reaction.
The suggestion was made to check a blood type when doing a red meat allergy/anaphylaxis evaluation.Also, consider -if this holds- knowing your blood type may help in pursuing or not pursuing risky exposures.
My observation- I am blood group B. No issues with beef or pork (never had venison), but I do react to the 'red meat' of watermelon with hoarseness as my manifestation of my oral allergy syndrome.