Tick Bites Plus Blood Type Predispose to Red Meat Allergy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:


Dr. Brestoff-Parker

Jonathan R. Brestoff-Parker, MD, PhD
PSTP Resident, Clinical Pathology
Department of Pathology & Immunology
Washington University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Red meat allergy is a recently recognized food allergy in which people experience a delayed allergic response about 3-6 hours after eating red meats that contain the allergen alpha-gal.

Red meat allergy is thought to be caused by tick bites which expose humans to alpha-gal, however other factors that contribute to disease risk are not well described. Alpha-gal looks a lot like the B antigen, which is one of the factors that determines blood type. So we wondered whether people with blood types B or AB are protected from getting red meat allergy. We were amazed when we found that patients who make the B antigen (blood types B or AB) are 5 times less likely to have red meat allergy than patients who do not make the B antigen (blood types O or A).  Continue reading