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On the rise: meat allergy due to tick bite

Not only various types of mosqui­toes torment us and some­times put our health in danger — arach­nids are also out to get us. Ticks belong to this class. Now a possible conse­quence of tick bites has drawn atten­tion, which, in contrast to TBE and Lyme disease, has hardly been noticed so far.

Blame the sudden spot­light on a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that more than 110,000 cases of suspected meat allergy, or so-called α‑gal syndrome (AGS), occurred in the U.S. between 2010 and 2022. All the more surpri­sing, accor­ding to a survey by the CDC, 42% of health care workers there have never heard of this disease. Symptoms range from indi­ges­tion and diar­rhea to poten­ti­ally life-threa­tening allergic reac­tions. The culprit in the plight: The bite of the lone star tick.

In Germany: wood tick instead of lone star

Now, in Germany and in Europe as a whole, this parti­cular tick species is not found — but unfort­u­na­tely, this is no reason for us to relax on our walk in the woods. Ixodes species, inclu­ding the native common wood tick (Ixodes ricinus), can also trigger the syndrome.

Nati­on­wide, there have been about 100 cases so far — this is the esti­mate of the Euro­pean Centre for Allergy Rese­arch Foun­da­tion. An inves­ti­ga­tion by Munich’s Klinikum rechts der Isar even reve­aled a corre­spon­ding sensi­tiza­tion for about 35 percent of the forest workers and hunters examined.

What can we do? If you want to enjoy your steak safely in the future, you should take appro­priate measures: Avoid areas where ticks predo­mi­nate, cover the body suffi­ci­ently with clot­hing and use insect repell­ents. At home, it is essen­tial to check your body to see if there is a tick anywhere.