Alerting physicians to digestive problems triggered by tick bites
The American Gastroenterological Association has released new clinical guidance to help physicians and patients identify whether unexplained digestive symptoms are due to alpha-gal syndrome, a food allergy that is caused by lone star tick bites.
The AGA Clinical Practice Update was published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Alpha-gal syndrome is an allergy that causes your body to react to eating meat from mammals and products made from mammals. Symptoms usually start 2-6 hours after eating the mammalian meat or food.
Clinicians should consider alpha-gal syndrome in patients with unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, particularly those who live or have lived in an alpha-gal–prevalent area. (This includes the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, Midwest and East Central U.S. regions.)
For patients with suspected alpha-gal, there is a blood test that looks for immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) to alpha-gal. Patients with these antibodies may have alpha-gal allergy. The main treatment for alpha-gal allergy is to not eat foods that contain alpha-gal. This includes mammalian meat, fat and products made from them.
PRESS RELEASE SOURCE: American Gastroenterological Association