Three cases of rare meat allergy at Stockholm hospital

Three people have been diagnosed with rare red meat allergies at a Stockholm hospital over the past six months, as the extremely rare condition gains increasing attention among researchers.

“We have never previously examined a patient for meat allergies. We wonder if it has become more common or if we have become more attentive to unusual allergies,” said senior doctor Lars Gottberg in a statement from Stockholm South General Hospital (Södersjukhuset) on Thursday.

A woman suffering from breathing difficulties and chest pains was admitted to the hospital’s allergy unit after having eaten minced beef, the hospital writes. The women had abstained from eating meat for the previous ten years due to the discomfort it casued. When the hospital conducted tests it concluded that the woman was allergic to beef, pork and lamb.

“The woman would like to begin eating meat again. We will now perform a skin test to see if she can take elk meat and then perhaps serve her some at the clinic,” said Maria Starkhammar at the hospital.

According to Ulf Bengtsson at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, which had just eight recorded case from 1998-2004, the research community has been devoting more time to meat allergies in recent years.

Stockholm South General Hospital cites a new report from US researchers which indicates that 24 people developed an allergy to red meat after having been bitten by ticks and sand fleas. Bengtsson said that the case of meat allergies was indicative of a lack of knowledge in the field.

“These cases can perhaps to be used to give a clue as to why allergies break out,” he said.

There are currently no indications that the three cases at Stockholm South Hospital came about as a result of bites from ticks.

Maria Starkhammar argued that resources should be made available for patients to test their allergy status.

“For example, it is not currently possible for us to allow patients to try suspect foodstuffs. Patients should also be given greater opportunity to received guidance from a dietician,” she said.

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