An Emerging Epidemic

As the Lone Star Tick Spreads, More People Are Developing AGS

  • Lone Star Tick populations are growing, and the range of the Lone Star Tick is expanding.
  • The number of people with alpha-gal syndrome is growing at an alarming rate.
  • Alpha-gal is now the number one cause of new onset food allergy and anaphylaxis in adults throughout the South and largely in the East as well.
  • The primary test lab for alpha-gal IgE, ViraCor Eurofins, reported 58,000 positive tests results for AG IgE from 2009 to 2017—and over 14,500 in a recent twelve-month period.

An Under-recognized and Growing Cause of Anaphylaxis

  • In one recent study of anaphylaxis, AGS was found to be the number one trigger, accounting for 33% of the cases with a definitive cause. The number two cause was all other food allergies combined, at 28%.
  • In the same study, recognition of AGS led to a reduction in the percentage of anaphylaxis cases without a definitive cause from 59% to 35% of total cases.
  • In another study, nine percent of all patients referred with unexplained anaphylaxis were found to have AGS.
  • Yet another study, in Virginia, found that AGS was not an uncommon cause of hives, angioedema (swelling), and recurrent anaphylaxis in children.

A Lack of Physician Awareness

  • In most cases, AGS is first identified by patients themselves, as many physicians are not familiar with it.
  • Due to its recent discovery, its unusual presentation, and lack of physician awareness, AGS is underdiagnosed and often misdiagnosed.
  • In areas where Lone Star Ticks are found, many cases of unexplained urticaria, angioedema, recurrent anaphylaxis, and IBS-like symptoms may be related to AGS.

I diagnosed myself! A year prior I saw a news report about a meat allergy. It was April to Sept before I received actual testing to be diagnosed by a doctor. My doctor’s office knew nothing at all about AG and NEVER even heard of it. I educated his whole office/lab and they looked up how to test for it. Received results in Sept 2018. Now others can be tested there.

—Annia Nelson Contreras