Tick bite leaves man with a deadly allergy to eating or smelling meat

8 August 2023


A dog walker who was bitten by a tick has been left unable to eat or smell, red meat without triggering a deadly allergic reaction.

After contracting the condition, Chris Goldman struggled to breathe, and then fainted after eating a steak. He was later diagnosed with Alpha-gal Syndrome, which develops when a person is bitten by a tick carrying the Alpha-Gal molecule. Once the molecule is in the bloodstream, the immune system makes antibodies that mark the Alpha-gal molecule as ‘foreign’.

The next time the person eats meat such as lamb, beef or pork the immune system wrongly identifies the Alpha-gal,  setting off an anaphylactic reaction. He suffered his first reaction when he was with his girlfriend.

“I woke up at 3 am with extreme itching and was hot all over. Later noticed other symptoms which I now know to be an anaphylactic reaction my hands were swollen, as well as my face and tongue. I was covered in hives. My breathing began to constrict and my throat closed up. I went to stand up and fainted.”

A further attack was triggered by eating a burger, which made him faint five times in quick succession. Even the smell is enough to leave him with all the symptoms of a deadly anaphylactic reaction. 

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