Alpha-gal Cases Up in Iowa and Minnesota

Lone Star tick: Adult female, adult male, nymph. Photo credit: James Occi, PhD. Rutgers University News journalist, Eric Min, 03.11.24 reports, “Iowa and Minnesota sees uptick in uncommon tickborne disease.” Min reports that the number of cases of Alpha-gal meat allergy are increasing from southern Iowa north to southern Minnesota. One of the issues surrounding tracking for this condition is that Alpha-gal may be under-reported due to lack of awareness about the condition and symptoms.

Alpha-gal is acquired primarily through the bite of a Lone Star tick. The exposure causes allergy to organ meats, mammal products, and red meat such as lamb, pork, and beef. According to Minnesota Department of Health data, the majority of Minnesota is at high risk for many tick-borne diseases, and they state that prevention of a tick bite is key to avoiding tick-borne diseases and Alpha-gal.

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