Tick Bites Plus Blood Type Predispose to Red Meat Allergy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brestoff-Parker

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

Prevention of Tick Bites With Insect Shield Clothing

Meagan F. Vaughn, PhD Postdoctoral Trainee Department of Epidemiology Gillings School of Global Public Health University of North Carolina at Chapel HillMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Meagan F. Vaughn, PhD
Postdoctoral Trainee
Department of Epidemiology
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Vaughn: Outdoor workers are at high-risk for tick-borne diseases. Adherence to recommended tick-bite prevention methods is poor.  While permethrin treatment of clothing is highly protective against many arthropod vectors, the need for frequent reapplication lessens adherence.  A double-blind randomized intervention was conducted to determine the effectiveness of long-lasting permethrin-impregnated uniforms for tick bite prevention among outdoor workers from North Carolina.  Treatment group uniforms were factory-impregnated with long-lasting permethrin by Insect Shield, while control group uniforms received sham treatment.  Participants completed weekly tick bite logs during two tick seasons.  130 participants reported 1,045 work-related tick bites over 5,251 person-weeks of follow-up.  The effectiveness of long-lasting permethrin impregnated uniforms for prevention of work-related tick bites was 82% (p<0.001) for the first year and 34% (p=0.38) for the second year. These results indicate that long-lasting permethrin impregnated uniforms are highly effective for at least one year against tick bites among North Carolina outdoor workers.
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