One of the first cases they saw was a bow hunter who had eaten meat all his life but landed in the emergency department several times with allergic reactions after eating meat.
Few patients seem aware of the risk, and even doctors are slow to recognize it.
As one allergist who has seen 200 cases on New York's Long Island said, "Why would someone think they're allergic to meat when they've been eating it their whole life?
The sugar is also is found in red meat - beef, pork, venison, rabbit - and even some dairy products.
It's usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.
Some people with the allergy now carry epinephrine shots in case they are stricken again. Some patients show signs of declining antibodies over time, although those with severe reactions are understandably reluctant to risk eating meat again.
Even poultry products such as turkey sausage sometimes contain meat byproducts and can trigger the allergy."We don't really know yet how durable this will be" or whether it's lifelong, like a shellfish allergy, Valet said.This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread from the Southwest and the East to more parts of the United States.In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has landed people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.Researchers think some other types of ticks also might cause meat allergies; cases have been reported in Australia, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Japan and Korea.Here's how it happens: The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don't have, called alpha-gal. The only way to create a healthier future is for everyone to do their part.