People can fall victim to anaphylactic shock for a variety of different reasons. Anaphylactic shock is an allergic reaction to a foreign substance. These reactions can occur in response to eating some types of foods, being around animals that a person is allergic to, and sustaining bites or stings from venomous insects or spiders; and this is only naming a few causes. People can also go into anaphylactic shock in response to an allergy to alpha-gal, which is a type of sugar found in red meat. Typically, people never develop an allergy to alpha-gal, but several years ago, scientists learned that tick bites can cause their human victims to develop this particular allergy. There is still much research to be done on this particular tick-borne ailment, but researchers are convinced that a sizable percentage of people experience anaphylactic shock in response to this tick-borne condition, which is known as alpha-gal syndrome. Amazingly, officials with one clinic in Tennessee believe that a majority of anaphylaxis cases were caused by alpha-gal syndrome.
A recent study has found that most anaphylaxis cases at the Allergy and Asthma Group of Galen were caused by alpha-gal syndrome. This finding makes alpha-gal syndrome a far more common tick-borne disease than previously assumed. When considering the fact that researchers discovered alpha-gal syndrome back in 2008, this recent study is alarming, as it shows how rapidly this tick-borne disease can be transmitted to the human population.
In addition to the study’s findings, officials with the clinic also noted that the percentage of unknown anaphylaxis cases decreased from 59 to 35 percent after physicians started taking alpha-gal syndrome into account. Researchers have attributed this troubling trend to an increase in the lone star tick population in the eastern United States. This finding also supports recent studies suggesting that more cases of alpha-gal syndrome are causing anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a potentially deadly allergic reaction that causes rashes, nausea, trouble breathing and shock.
Do you personally worry about developing alpha-gal syndrome due to tick bites?