(PartiallyPolitics.com) – Health officials in Virginia have pointed out that there is a public health concern in the state following an increase in the number of people who have tested positive for Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS).
AGS is a meat allergy that is not widely known. It is usually contracted by tick bites and it includes a number of symptoms including hives, diarrhea, upset stomach, angioedema, headaches, sneezing, and a drop in blood pressure. This syndrome could also be life-threatening as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who first issued a warning last month.
A Virginia Department of Health (VDH) state public health veterinarian Julia Murphy stated that the disease is commonly spread through tick bites, particularly lone star ticks which are common in the state. She added that this is likely what is driving the alpha-gal cases that they have been seeing in Virginia.
While many other diseases that are spread through tick bites require the ticks to be attached to a human body for hours, AGS transmission occurs through the saliva of the tick which has a sugar molecule called alpha-gal. As soon as they bite a person’s body the molecule is injected through their saliva, causing a quick immune response from the human.
However, the immune system does not have an easy time distinguishing between the alpha-gal carbohydrate that was injected by the tick and the alpha-gal carbohydrate that is naturally moving through the body because of food. As such, an allergic reaction might be caused.
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