ALPHA GAL ALLERGY
A 31 year old man was eagerly waiting for his lunch. His wife had made yummy beef casserole and he couldn’t wait for his tastebuds to try it out. This was going to be the best meal of his life.
Atleast that’s what he thought till what happened to him 4 hours later…
4 hours past his meal he was sitting in the garden reading a book when suddenly his nose started feeling stuffy. Dismissing it as a normal cold because of the change in weather, he went inside his house to wear a sweater when suddenly his body started itching. And subsequently his body developed rashes all over. He was having trouble breathing. His worried wife, thinking it was another asthma attack handed him his inhaler but her husband passed out before he could take a puff from the inhaler.
He was instantly given Epinephrine in the ER. But after many tests in the ER, the doctors were baffled. They knew it was a case of anaphylaxis, but to what ?
A doctor went to the wife again to ask her her husband’s full day activities that day and where they lived. When she told him about his day’s activities and the fact that they lived in the woods where they had their little farm, he got his answer.
A positive IgE to Alpha Gal confirmed his suspicion.
The Lone Star tick carries a sugar molecule called Alpha- Gal, which reprograms the people’s immune system, rendering them allergic to meat. When bitten by the tick, the man’s body developed antibodies against it and again when he consumed beef which also contains alpha gal, those antibodies triggered an immune reaction. The Lone Star Tick is usually found in woody areas, like forests. The allergy is late onset unlike other food allergies. And no definite treatment has been found yet.
Some people get over this allergy in a few years. Other have to use antihistamine drugs and epinephrine auto-injectors.
Never thought a tick could make you stop eating your favourite dish, did you ?