CDC Raises Alarm As Tick Bites Triggers Mysterious, Life-Threatening Allergy Across US

A potentially life-threatening food allergy known as Alpha-Gal Syndrome (AGS), triggered by a tick bite, could be affecting hundreds of thousands of individuals in the U.S., Fox News reports.

The Alpha-Gal Syndrome Threat: The condition, also referred to as the “red-meat allergy” or the “tick bite meat allergy,” is caused by the Lone Star tick, primarily found in Southeastern and Eastern states of the U.S.

The tick’s saliva contains a sugar molecule called alpha-gal, which triggers allergies to certain types of red meat or products made from mammals.

“We have seen an annual increase in the numbers of suspected Alpha-Gal Syndrome cases between 2010 and 2022,” said Dr. Johanna Salzer, CDC epidemiologist and a senior author of the new report.

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Understanding the Symptoms: Individuals with AGS can experience serious allergy symptoms within a few hours of consuming foods containing the allergens. Symptoms can range from gastrointestinal issues to severe anaphylactic reactions.

Challenges in Diagnosis and Treatment: Diagnosis of AGS requires antibody testing and a clinical exam, but many patients face a long road to diagnosis — an average of seven years, according to Salzer. Currently, there is no treatment or cure for AGS, though physicians can help patients manage their symptoms.

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