For Matt Beres, cooking isn't a chore it's his life.
But for the past six years, the private chef has been battling an allergy that prevents him from enjoying many of his gourmet meals.He's allergic to red meat and doctors believe bites from the lone star tick are to blame.
Matt is among more than 3000 cases nationwide. UNC Chapel Hill Researcher doctor, Scott Commins, says those numbers are growing with the increasing tick population.
The tick bites trigger an immune response to Alpha Gal, a sugar found in beef, lamb, venison and pork. Reactions can include redness and itching, stomach problems and in some cases: anaphylaxis. But Matt's doctor, Erin McGintee says Alpha Gal is not like other allergies.
Matt has been hospitalized several times. He always carries an epi-pen and sticks with fish and chicken. Today he's making duck. Doctors say there is some hope. The allergy can go away if the patient avoids additional tick bites. Something Matt is mindful of anytime he's outdoors.
Researchers say the fattier the red meat, the more likely a person is to have a severe reaction.