Health officials said public health concerns that could lead to deadly consequences are rising in Virginia, where people have tested positive for alpha-gal syndrome.
Alpha gall syndrome (AGS) is a not known allergy to meat that is transmitted through tick bites and can be life threatening. It primarily causes hives, angioedema, stomach upset, diarrhea, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, headache, and low blood pressure, but it can cause death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which issued a warning. About last month’s syndrome.
It’s known to spread through tick bites, specifically from the lone star tick, which is common in Virginia, according to Julia Murphy, a state public health veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).
“We have a lot of single ticks here in Virginia, so we think that’s driving a lot of what we’re seeing in Virginia when it comes to Alpha-Gal and people who test positive for Alpha-Gal,” she said. WSET.
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Unlike other diseases spread by tick bites — which require the tick to remain attached to a human for hours — AGS is transmitted through tick saliva.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, ticks carry a sugar molecule called alpha-gal in their saliva and inject it into an individual’s body by biting them.
“The tick’s saliva triggers the immune response of the human body to develop antibodies in an attempt to combat the foreign substance. However, the immune system is now having difficulty determining whether the alpha-gal carbohydrates in the blood are from or not. “Ticks or burgers,” VDH said. What you just ate may trigger an allergic reaction.
Those who develop allergies — perhaps during the summer or fall holidays when ticks become more active in warm weather — should avoid eating anything containing the sugar molecule alpha-gal because it causes allergic reactions to certain types of meat that are high in fat (primarily The first is pork, beef, rabbit, lamb, or venison) or products made from mammals (including protein powders, dairy products, and gelatin).
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Some medications, including the cancer drug cetuximab, can also cause an allergic reaction.
Symptoms can appear about four to eight hours after eating red meat.
“Once you have an alpha gal, your future is a little bit uncertain in terms of what kind of restrictions you might have and what you can eat and other things that you can take by mouth like medications and the like,” Murphy said.
Due to its association with tick bites and red meat, AGS is also known as a “red meat allergy” or “tick meat allergy”.
The CDC said in July that alpha-gal allergy was an emerging public health concern, as alpha-gal allergy, like other food allergies, can be life-threatening.
According to Murphy, the best way to avoid contracting the syndrome is to avoid being bitten by a tick in the first place. She recommends wearing light colors when outdoors in order to spot ticks easily, using the correct sprays, and checking yourself when you get back inside.
The CDC has only been aware of alpha-gal syndrome since 2008. Currently, there is no treatment or cure.
Henrico County health officials are urging people to be extra vigilant in the warmer months and to avoid wooded and dense areas with tall grass. They said people should also use repellents containing 20 to 30% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection or other products containing permethrin on clothing.
Fox News’ Melissa Ruddy contributed to this report.