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More Missourians Becoming Allergic to Meat After Tick Bite

FARMINGTON, Mo.(KMOV)--It sounds bizarre: A tick bite one day and then you can’t eat meat for the rest of your life. But, a Missouri man says that’s exactly what happened to him and his doctor explained it’s becoming more common.

 An attorney and avid outdoorsman.

"There is no doubt, multiple times I had been bitten by a tick," said Mike Randazzo.

But he never connected that to severe illness.

"I passed out, my wife found me, foaming at the mouth, shaking, tremors," added Randazzo.

Then -Mike Randazzo represented a child in a case whose parent said he had a severe allergy to meat. And it started after a tick bite. 

"At some point, I had an epiphany, maybe this is what is happening with me. This child is describing things that fit the puzzle perfectly."

Now - neither of them can eat beef, pork, deer, rabbit, lamb, or any other meal that comes from a mammal.

Their doctor - allergy specialist Dr. Kevin Boatright explained it's because of an allergy to alpha gal, a sugar in meat.

"The symptoms are usually like any typical allergic reaction. Itching, rashing, full fledge anaphylaxis with difficulty breathing, wheezing," said Boatright. 

There is no known cure but it can be diagnosed with a simple test.

It's caused by a lone star tick. The one with a white spot on its back. It's often on deer where it picks up alpha gal.

When it bites a human, it transmits that sugar which is in all mammalian meat. But some people then develop an allergy to it. 

"It's a delayed type reaction," said Boatright. So when you ingest a red meat, that reaction doesn't occur for potentially, 3 up to 8 hours later." 

Dr.  Boatright expects more people to be diagnosed as awareness spreads .. and parts of the state continue to deal


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