Enlarge / A vector ecologist displays a vial of live lone star ticks. (credit: Getty | Ben McCanna)
A little over a decade ago, researchers discovered that bites from lone star ticks could cause some people to develop a food allergy to meat and meat products—an allergic condition called alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), which can vary from mild to life-threatening.
The condition is named after a carbohydrate called galactose-α-1,3-galactose (aka alpha-gal), which is commonly found on proteins in most mammals—with the important exception of primates, like humans. Alpha-gal shows up on all sorts of non-primate mammalian tissue, which means it’s also in meat—such as pork, beef, rabbit, and lamb—and animal products, like milk and gelatin….