Alpha-Gal Allergy in the News Again – NPR and ScienceNOW Reports

Check out the short NPR article, “Rare Meat Allergy Caused By Tick Bites May Be On The Rise,” which offers a brief overview of the allergy and its increasing distribution (as far away as Hawaii!). The ScienceNOW article by the same author, entitled “Ticked Off About a Growing Allergy to Meat,” has more info, including a map from Viracor-IBT (providers of the commercial test for the alpha-gal allergy) showing regional rates of mammalian meat allergy.

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9 responses to “Alpha-Gal Allergy in the News Again – NPR and ScienceNOW Reports”

  1. soking176@gmail.com says :

    I been an alpha gal since 2000. Its no fun. Was bitten by the Lone Star tick in Clinton SC while playing golf. Msny eating adjustments. Hate it. Steve King

    Sent from my iPhone

    • T.M. says :

      Three of us at work have this same thing in Delaware. Sooo many hidden food items to watch for, scary to eat out.

      • LSB says :

        I contend I’ve been an alpha gal my whole life (sorry my poor attempt at humor,) but diagnosed since 2009. Because when I reacted to meat I ate – my immune system also went into overdrive and attacked the other foods I had eaten – so I now also have a wheat and dairy (protein) allergy. Ticks are REALLY evil things. My bites came from a hiking trip- my son and husband were also bit but didn’t react.

  2. Becky says :

    I broke out for 7 months in hives and had awful wheezing attacks. My body ached terribly and I was always tired. I was passed to 3 doctors, I told them that I was having hives and other symptoms and that I had been bitten by a small spotted tick and asked them if there could be something linked to receiving that bite. All 3 denied any link and treated me with all sorts of drugs and had me keep food diaries. My 5th doctor finally listened to me declaring that I was bitten by a tick and said she had recently seen a TV news show talking about it and tested me for alpha gal and the test came back with a positive reaction. I am allergic to beef, pork, lamb, venison, dairy and any product that I apply to my skin that contains anything from these animals. I have dogs and cats and if I touch their food, then I break out or get itchy. I now eat fins and feathers, fruits, veggies, and lots of soy products. I have really had to change my eating habits. I read food labels all the time. Grocery shopping is difficult. I keep an epipen and inhaler on me at all times. I have two medicines that really help me if I feel an allergic reaction coming on-Hydroxyzine HCL and Ranitidine. I take them together and they really keep the reaction away.

  3. Judy Davis says :

    I am having an Alpha Gal test tomorrow. I have suffered from this at least 10 years now. I started having Delayed anaphylaxis x 5 two years ago after eating beef. I have been red meat free for 2 years now. I suffer also from thyroid nodules and hypothyroidism and I thought I had celiac but tested negative. My stomach is always a mess. Now reading through these posts I see my fatigue, stomach issues,hives and joint pain could be related to the Alpha Gal issues. Then when I see the other foods linked to this like Chicory ( I drink coffee with this in it !! Used to), Asparagus, Artichokes, gelatin, and it is in some dairy products I cannot believe it. !!!! I live in Arkansas and when I first moved here from So Cal I was bitten hundreds of times from seed ticks and the ones with the white spot on their back because the woods are full fo them here. They are a way of life here in the Ozarks. I actually got bit by one last week. I have not felt good for over 10 years. I now feel I am close to figuring it out. I love the outdoors but stay away from it here because of the ticks. I take a Ranitidine and Zyrtec daily and carry benadryl, Predisone and an Epipen with me. I am very interested in the study. My blood type is B+ and I think the study wanted to know blood types. Thanks for all of this information. I seem to be able to eat pork or so I think. I would rather not chance it. I would rather be safe than sorry. Judy

    • Judy Davis says :

      I am positive at 1.27 and my Beef is .17, Pork .11 and Lamb .11. I have not eaten Beef for over 2 years since my last anaphylaxis. I have not eaten Lamb ever and I have eaten Pork 1 year ago.

  4. Judy Young says :

    I was bitten by several Long Star Tick babies. Had to have a bite area lanced, I have yet to be diagnosed…my doctors ALL think I am an idiot! Even my allergist! I can’t find anyone to test me!! HELP…I’ve had this for 18 months and the rash has left scaring. 😥 Can anyone help me? I’m at my witt’s end!

  5. JB says :

    I have had reactions from gelatin in candy and from sweet potatoes cooked with marshmallows (which have gelatin), but no reaction at all from gelatin capsules for medication. I have reacted to a veggie burger cooked on the same grill used for hamburgers. I haven’t had the lab test, but I had already figured out that pork and gelatin caused hives and sometimes anaphylaxis 3 to 4 hours after ingestion before I heard the people’s pharmacy broadcast on NPR and learned its name. I have been able to avoid reactions to small amounts eaten by accident by taking Benadryl about an hour after eating a bit of bacon. I wouldn’t dream of intentionally eating mammal meat, marshmallows, or any candy that I knew contained gelatin.
    I live in a wooded area of the Arkansas ozarks and inevitably get tick bites. Have had reactions since 2003.

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