Man in Britain faces life-threatening allergy to red meat after tick bites
A man in Britain has found himself housebound after tick bites left him with a life-threatening allergy to red meat.
Mr Christopher Goldman, 28, suffers from alpha-gal syndrome, a tick-borne illness. It can cause anaphylaxis if meat such as beef, lamb or pork is consumed.
He also believes any exposure, including airborne transmission, to mammal by-products such as wool and dairy will trigger a reaction, according to a report in Sky News.
So Mr Goldman wears only vegan approved clothing and uses household items that are animal free. He also wears an emergency contact bracelet.
Mr Goldman was bitten by ticks in December 2022 in the forest near his home in the town of Woking, about 35km from London.
He has been bitten four more times, according to the report, and has suffered eight fainting episodes. Five of these occurred on the same day.
The most severe incident occurred on June 28, when he broke out into hives and his face and tongue swelled up. Even after he regained consciousness, Mr Goldman said he was unable to cry for help.
Tests eventually revealed that his tick bites had developed into alpha-gal syndrome.
The condition develops after a person is bitten by a tick which carries the alpha-gal molecule in its saliva. Once it is in a human’s blood stream, the molecule causes the immune system to make antibodies that cause a reaction to red meat.
Common symptoms include stomach cramps, hives, and shortness of breath that could lead to fatal anaphylaxis.
But there is no evidence to suggest there are risks of airborne transmission.
The condition is believed to be rare in the UK.
But across the Atlantic, new data in July from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the rate of Americans developing the allergy is rising.
The CDC added it may have already impacted as many as 450,000 people since 2010 due to difficulties with diagnosis. The body digests meat slowly, so it can be very difficult to spot symptoms that may appear.
Meanwhile, experts have urged people to cover up outdoors and regularly check their bodies for tick bites.
The CDC advised people to use insect repellent when they are outdoors and avoid heavily wooded or bushy areas where they could come into contact with the bugs.