Alpha-Gal probably sounds like the nickname given to Gal Gadot due to the success of Wonder Woman, but the nickname, short for galactose-alpha-1, 3-galactose, is a sugar molecule that might just cause you to become allergic to meat.
Meat eaters I know you are probably freaking and Vegans you are wondering how you are gonna breed these ticks to start the Vegan revolution.
The Lone Star tick gets its name from the Texas shaped markings on its body, a bite from such a tick is where your body gets introduced to the sugar molecule which rewires your immune system.
Although most tick bites are usually uneventful, in some cases some immune systems are sensitive to proteins in the parasite’s saliva, and the afflicted people become intolerant to red meat, and in some cases dairy and gelatine allergies.
Poultry and seafood can be tolerated, but many sufferers choose to avoid meat entirely.
Cases have already been reported in Europe, Asia Central America and Africa, but these ticks are most prevalent in America and Australia where host populations are booming.
“There’s a time delay in the reaction,” explains e Cosby Stone, an allergy and immunology fellow at Vanderbilt University. Stone, which accounts for why some people don’t always immediately realize they’re have a reaction. “It [the Alpha-Gal] has to first travel through your gastrointestinal tract to be released. Hours later, patients wake up with hives, shortness of breath, vomiting, and diarrhea.”
“Most patients don’t know what they have,” he explained. It usually takes repeated allergic reaction before people link their diet to their outbreak.
Is It On The Rise?
Originally found primarily in the southeastern U.S., the disease may become more common in farther north and western regions that experience warming temperatures. Cases of the tick-borne illness have been popping up as far north as Long Island, New York, and as far west as Minnesota.
The allergy so far has treatments for side effects but no cure or vaccine.