(MyHealthNewsDaily) Some children living in the U.S. Southeast have a rare meat allergy linked to tick bites, according to a new study.

Bites from ticks, usually lone star ticks, cause the body to become allergic to a protein called alpha-gal — which also happens to be found in some mammals, including cows, pigs and sheep, the researchers said. When people who have been bitten develop this allergy, and then eat meat from these animals, they can experience hives, swelling, or more rarely, a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.

Cases of the meat allergy in adults were first reported in 2008, and have been on the rise in recent years, the researchers said. The new study is the first to describe the allergy in children, said study researcher Dr. Scott Commins, an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Virginia.

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.