Can I Get Ags From A Tick Bite
- Growing evidence suggests that AGS may be triggered by the bite of a lone star tick in the United States, but other kinds of ticks have not been ruled out. Other tick species have been connected with the development of AGS in other countries.
- More research is needed to understand the role ticks play in starting this reaction, and why certain people develop AGS.
The Lone Star Tick And Red Meat Allergy: Should You Be Concerned
Recent headlines have grabbed attention due to proclamations of the Northward march of the Lone Star tick. Ticks are found through the United States and like to live in warm places close to their favorite meal . Ticks typically feed on rodents, deer, and even the family dog, but can be transferred to humans and bite us as well. Tick bites are typically painless and may not occur for hours after they first latch on to our scalp or body. Ticks are extremely small and hard to find, often hiding in our scalps or mimicking birthmarks.
While most tick bites are painless and often go unnoticed, ticks can cause serious problems for humans by transmitting infectious diseases such as Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Now, a relatively new form of allergy has also been linked to the bite of the Lone Star tick.
Lone Star ticks are endemic to the Southern United States but have now been identified in Northern states. When ticks bite humans, they expose elements of their saliva to our blood stream. Lone Star tick saliva contains a carbohydrate called galactose-a-1,3-galactose . Heres what you need to know:
- Humans do not produce alpha-gal
- Individuals bitten by the Lone Star tick can develop an allergy antibody to alpha-gal
- Red meat contains alpha-gal
- People who are sensitized to alpha-gal after a Lone Star tick bite may then develop an allergy to red meat
- This does NOT cause an immediate allergic reaction to the tick bite itself
Epidemiology Of The Ige Antibody Response To Alpha
Using the assay for IgE Ab to alpha-gal, we screened sera from different groups of patients who had presented to the allergy clinic. It rapidly became clear that there was a group of patients who consistently reported urticarial or anaphylactic reactions occurring 35 h after eating red meat . In keeping with the known distribution of the oligo-saccharide, these patients also had positive skin tests and serum assays to beef, pork, and lamb, as well as milk, cat, and dog .
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The Tick Thats Becoming More Prevalent In Ri Could Cause A Red Meat Allergy
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
The Amblyomma americanum tick â also known as the lone star tick. Photo: CDC Gathany/Vickers
One Rhode Island man said he believes it was a lone star tick bite last summer that caused him to go into anaphylactic shock when he ate a beef burrito in the weeks following and now he says he cant eat meat or even wear wool.
Alpha-gal Syndrome also called alpha-gal allergy, red meat allergy, or tick bite meat allergy is a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . AGS may occur after people eat red meat or are exposed to other products containing alpha-gal.
Growing evidence suggests that AGS may be triggered by the bite of a lone star or blacklegged tick, the CDC continues. More research is needed to understand the role ticks play in triggering this reaction, and why certain people develop AGS.
A University of Rhode Island expert said the lone star tick is well established in Rhode Island and spreading.
It used to be black-legged ticks on Long Island in the 1980s and now the lone star tick has set up shop in some fairly metropolitan areas, including Staten Island, said URIs Dr. Thomas Mather.
This tick is definitely is definitely on the inroads here, said Mather of it in Rhode Island. Its a sad thing. Its a much more aggressive biter.
One Mans Story
What To Do If You Suspect An Alpha
You should see your primary care doctor if you think you were bitten by a tick, Wada says.
But you should see an allergist, as well, if you think you were bitten by a tick and youre also having issues eating red meat.
Allergic reactions may include itching, swelling, hives, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
There may be a delay in the alpha-gal allergys development after a lone star tick bite, making it harder to connect those symptoms to their cause. Doctors arent yet sure how long it could take to develop the allergy, because not many people with alpha-gal allergies can say exactly when they were bitten.
We dont think youll get bitten by a tick today and be unable to eat a hamburger tomorrow, Wada says. There is usually a period of time that we call sensitization, where the immune system is developing that allergy.
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Some Tick Bites Can Cause A Life
Many of you already know about the various infections that a tick bite can transmit, sometimes leading to life-altering diseases and symptoms. But did you know that a tick bite may also lead to a meat allergy?
Alpha-gal allergy came on the medical radar in 2002, when a number of patients exhibited an allergic reaction to the cancer drug Cetuximab. It was later discovered that Cetuximab contains the same alpha-gal sugar as meat. A connection between tick bites and meat allergy was made only after the scientist involved in this research, Thomas Platts-Mills of the University of Virginia, was himself bitten by a tick and developed the allergy.
Alpha-gal is a sugar that is found in mammalian meat such as cows, sheep, and pigs. The allergy often stems from exposure to the lone star tick, which contains the same sugar in its saliva. Researchers from the University of Virginia estimate there are over 1,500 cases of alpha-gal allergy in the U.S. These cases are more prevalent in areas where the lone star tick is found.
The allergic reaction is often difficult to diagnose clinically, because it is delayed. Most patients wont exhibit symptoms for at least two to six hours after ingesting a meal. Thus, a connection between the meal and the allergic reaction is not easily made.
The symptoms that one should look out for are:
· Stuffy or runny nose
Allergic Reactions From Lone Star Ticks
The first symptom of a meat allergy is usually a rash or hives, but unlike other food allergies that happen a little sooner, it can take six hours to start seeing a reaction. Most peoples first step would be to take an antihistamine and hope they feel better, but an awareness of having a tick bite and seeing this kind of reaction after eating red meat could save your life. Anaphylaxis due to a meat allergy can have wildly varying effects on people, from a mild reaction only once to a severe and life-threatening reaction for decades, especially when the victim has had anaphylaxis before. An allergist is qualified to diagnose the symptoms and in many cases the sufferer may be prescribed an EpiPen.
If you believe that you or someone you know is having an anaphylactic reaction, dont hesitate to call 911 and use an EpiPen if you have it. Any kind of wheezing, coughing, throat tightness, dizziness, light-headedness and chest pain needs to be taken very seriously and can escalate quickly to being unable to breathe at all or the heart stopping completely.
Climate change is affecting the range and intensity of insect populations as warmer temperatures allow them to multiply faster and live farther north. Its a good idea to stay educated on some of the more insidious creatures and take appropriate measures around your house by keeping tick removal kits and natural insect repellents, and by removing some underbrush that is close to your home.
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Do You Like Eating Red Meat Then Avoid Ticks
We are learning more about the Lone Star Tick as more knowledge is released to the public. We know that the Lone Star Tick is aggressive and will seek out a human or pet as its next meal. We know that Lone Star Ticks are found throughout southeastern and south-central states and that they do not transmit Lyme Disease. We know that the white âstarâ on its shell is how the tick got its name. We knew all of this but we were not prepared to learn that a tick bite from a Lone Star can lead to a red-meat allergy. As if we didnât have enough to worry about with the risk for Lyme Disease transmission, the Powassan Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other tick-borne illnesses. Now, no red meat?
Some Lone Stars may be carrying Alpha-Gal, the nickname for sugar molecule alpha-1,3-galactose that might cause someone to become allergic to red meat such as pork, beef and lamb. Currently, there are treatments available for side effects from food allergies but no cure or vaccine.
Once bitten by a Lone Star Tick, the bodyâs immune system is rewired. Most people realize that they are carrying the Alpha-Gal âallergyâ in their system after they eat red meat. Patients that have had allergic reactions from the tick bite experience vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath and break out in hives.
Professor Dr. Vett Lloyd, in New Brunswick, has already found Lone Star Ticks in the area.
Has Niaid Looked At Whether Infection Persists After Antibiotic Therapy
Several recent studies suggest that B. burgdorferi may persist in animals after antibiotic therapy. In one study, NIAID-supported scientists found that remnants of B. burgdorferi remained in mice after antibiotic treatment. Another team of NIAID-supported investigators found that intact B. burgdorferi persist in nonhuman primates after antibiotic treatment. It was not possible to culture these bacteria and it is not clear whether they are infectious. More recent work by Hodzic et al. replicated the earlier finding of persisting DNA but non-cultivatable B. burgdorferi after antibiotic treatment using a mouse model. In 2017, scientists at the Tulane National Primate Research Centers, funded in part by an NIH research resources grant, reported evidence of persistent and metabolically active B. burgdorferi after antibiotic treatment in rhesus macaques.
In a first-of-its-kind study for Lyme disease, NIAID-supported researchers have used live, disease-free ticks to see if Lyme disease bacteria can be detected in people who continue to experience symptoms such as fatigue or arthritis after completing antibiotic therapy). This study remains underway.
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The Tick That Causes A Meat Allergy Is On The Move
The lone star tick can trigger an allergic reaction to red meat in those bitten. Now this arachnids territory is expanding.
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One night in 2008, Deborah Fleshman awoke in her bed to find that her legs had turned beetroot red. Welts, some a foot wide, had appeared along her torso.
Ms. Fleshman, a nurse at the time, had earlier that evening hosted a cookout at her home in Greenwood, Del., a town of about 1,000 people 25 miles south of Dover. She drank a couple of beers. She ate a cheeseburger.
Hours later, she told her worried father, I feel like Im dying.
Ms. Fleshman, now 60, is among the thousands of Americans diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome, an allergic reaction to mammal meats like pork, beef and lamb, which growing evidence shows can be triggered by a tick bite.
It feels like youre on fire, and then it feels like you slept with a cactus, she said. The itching is unbearable.
Researchers have traced the syndrome to the lone star tick, named for the signature white splotch, or lone star, on females backs. Theyre historically found in the southern United States, but increasingly, these arachnids are being spotted in parts of the Midwest and the Northeast.
Were venturing into uncharted waters in so many dimensions with climate change, Dr. Raupp said.
What Should You Do If You Find A Tick On You
Larson also previously told USA TODAY that if you find a tick on your shoes or clothes that has not bitten you, you don’t need to worry about the bug transferring pathogens.
If a tick has bitten you, you should remove the tick as quickly as possible and consider calling your physician, especially if you live in an area where Lyme disease is common, according to the CDC. You should also watch for symptoms for up to 30 days.
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How Common Is Alpha
In the U.S., the syndrome has mostly been found where Lone Star ticks predominate, which is in the southeastern part of the country, as well as the east coast and south central regions. However, these ticks also are common as far north as Maine and as far west as central Texas. Deer that carry Lone Star ticks also appear to be moving further north and west due to climate change, potentially increasing the syndromes spread.
For now, its difficult to say how common alpha-gal syndrome is. It is a new syndrome and, as such, healthcare providers are not required to track it as a disease or syndrome. It may also be underdiagnosed. Recent estimates suggest more than 5,000 people may have it in the U.S.
Besides red meat, people with alpha-gal syndrome may react to the cancer drug cetuximab, as well as vaccines or other drugs made with gelatin .
How One Tick Bite Can Lead To A Life
One night in the summer of 2009, Jeremy Spittle emerged from a hot tub covered in hives that itched four times more than poison ivy. For months, his skin broke out like this every few days. The only thing that helped was doubling sometimes quadrupling the recommended dose of Benadryl. One time, the reaction was so bad it required a trip to the emergency room. Another time, Spittle fainted in the bathroom, hitting his head on the sink as he fell.
He tried cutting alcohol from his diet. Then milk. Then vegetables. It was during this trial and error period that Spittles father stumbled across a Washington Post article detailing cases of a new meat allergy with symptoms ranging from hives to anaphylactic shock. The cause?The Lone Star tick.
Spittle, 33, who lived in Nokesville, Virginia and worked frequently outdoors for Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, had been bitten by multiple ticks earlier that spring. The stories and symptoms in the article seemed to echo his experience. Was this tick at the root of his problems, he wondered?
Lone Star ticks bite humans by inserting needle-like mouth parts into the skin, while backward-facing teeth act as hooks, securing them in place. They also secrete a cement-like substance that helps them to stay attached, Kaufman said.
Approximate distribution of the Lone Star tick. Map courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Spittles doctor doesnt buy the hygiene hypothesis.
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India Endures Record Heat Wave: The Only Reason Is Global Warming
Global warming is taking a huge toll on India.
The story: India is in the midst of a deadly heat wave that is upending lives and causing widespread blackouts across the country. The region, which still has two more months to go before the cooling monsoon rains begin, has seen temperatures rise to 46 degrees Celsius the highest in well over a century. Evidence is mounting that this extreme weather is the direct result of climate change, reports Archana Chaudhary for Bloomberg.
Why is it exceptionally warm this year? The only reason is global warming, Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist, told Bloomberg. We have looked at data for 70 years and at the intensity, the number of heatwaves is directly in response to global warming.
This current heatwave is only the beginning. Climate experts from the United Nations expect more frequent and intense heat waves and flood seasons to continue to impact India.
The big picture: Climate-fueled extreme weather dominated headlines around the world this week. South Africa is reeling from heavy rains that killed hundreds, as China makes preparations for its own torrential flood season. And in the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently shared that almost every state in the contiguous United States will hit sweltering, above-average temperatures this summer.
How To Prevent Ags
Given that tick bites are the main cause of AGS, taking proper precautions while outdoors is your best defense against the syndrome, says Dr. Perez. He recommends:
- Wear clothing that completely covers your skin in areas with tick activity. That means long-sleeve shirts, pants and high socks. Tucking your pant legs into your socks can provide added protection.
- Use bug sprays on your clothes and skin to ward off creepy crawlies. DEET-based repellants are safe to use.
Make sure to check your clothing and skin for ticks before coming back inside, too. Remove any attached ticks with tweezers ASAP.
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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States. It is caused by a bacterial infection transmitted through the bites of blacklegged ticks. The symptoms can be divided into two phases:
Early Symptoms :
- Muscle and joint aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans rash- This rash occurs in roughly 70 to 80 percent of patients and presents at the site of the tick bite between three and thirty days after the original bite. It expands gradually and can cover an area up to one foot in diameter. It may feel warm to the touch, but is rarely itchy or painful. In some cases, it may take on a bulls-eye appearance.
Late Symptoms :
- Shooting pains, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Short-term memory loss or confusion
In most cases, Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious damage to the heart, lungs, nervous system and joints.
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