Alpha-gal syndrome another tickborne illness to look out for

(ABC 6 News) – As if Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever weren’t enough, there’s yet another syndrome ticks are spreading this summer, and it could cause an allergic reaction to red meat.

Alpha-gal syndrome is spread when a tick bites an animal like a cow, pig, lamb or deer and collects its sugar, or alpha-gals. If that tick then bites a human, it may cause an allergic reaction if that person eats red meats with that same sugar or byproducts of that animal.

According to Gundersen Health System infection preventionist Megan Meller, a red meat allergy differs from person-to-person.

“Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Alpha-gal. It comes down to diet elimination, so eliminating that source from your diet so you don’t have a response to it,” said Meller.

Meller adds that tick bite prevention is the ultimate goal.

Tucking in clothes, wearing a certified tick repellant, and doing a thorough tick check when coming in from the outdoors are the best ways to stay safe.