(HealthDay News) – Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody specific for galactose-α1,3-galactose (α-Gal), which is associated with delayed anaphylaxis and urticaria that occurs several hours after eating beef, pork, or lamb, has been identified in children reporting idiopathic anaphylaxis or urticaria, according to a study published online April 8 in Pediatrics.

Joshua L. Kennedy, MD, from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, and colleagues investigated the presence of IgE antibodies to α-Gal in pediatric patients (aged 4–17 years) who reported idiopathic anaphylaxis or urticaria. Sera were obtained and analyzed for total and specific IgE.

The researchers identified 45 patients who had clinical histories indicative of delayed anaphylaxis or urticaria to mammalian meat, and also had α-Gal-specific IgE antibodies. The majority of these cases had a history of tick bites that itched and persisted within the previous year.

“We believe that this research provides clear evidence that the α-Gal syndrome is important in the pediatric population, and it should be diagnostically considered in children with a history suggestive of delayed responses to red meat and acute, recurrent urticaria, angioedema, or idiopathic anaphylaxis, particularly in those patients living in areas where the Lone Star tick is common,” the authors write.

Two of the authors disclosed financial ties relevant to the study.

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