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Red meat allergy in children and adults

Wilson, Jeffrey M.; Platts-Mills, Thomas A.E.

Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: June 2019 - Volume 19 - Issue 3 - p 229–235
doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000523
FOOD ALLERGY: Edited by Alessandro Fiocchi and Motohiro Ebisawa

Purpose of review To highlight recent advances in our understanding of the clinical features, prevalence, and pathophysiology of red meat allergy.

Recent findings Allergic reactions to red (i.e. mammalian) meat have historically been considered rare and described primarily in young atopic children. It is now clear that red meat allergy is not uncommon in some parts of the world in other age groups. Strikingly, the majority of these cases relate to specific IgE to galactose-α-1,3-galactose, an oligosaccharide of nonprimate mammals. The mechanism of sensitization in this syndrome relates to bites of certain hard ticks and the clinical reactions often have a delay of 3 to 6 h. An additional form of red meat allergy relates to inhalant sensitization to mammalian proteins. The best characterized example involves cat-sensitized patients with specific IgE to cat serum albumin who can react to ingested pork because of cross-sensitization to pork serum albumin.

Summary Red meat allergy is more common than previously appreciated and relates to at least three different forms that are distinguished by mechanisms of sensitization and have characteristic clinical and immunologic features.

Division of Allergy and Immunology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

Correspondence to Thomas A.E. Platts-Mills, Asthma and Allergic disease Center, University of Virginia, PO Box 801355, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA. Tel: +434 924 5917; fax: +434 924 5779; e-mail:

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