As our weather finally warms, ticks will reappear in increasing numbers. During the last 15 months of my rheumatology practice (September 2013 through December 2014), more than 200 patients were checked for tick-related diseases. I had 147 patients who had positive blood tests for alpha gal tick disease that has been related to mammalian meat allergy. However, among those patients, only one had a previous history of hives or severe allergic reaction to beef, pork , lamb or venison. My patients presented with musculoskeletal symptoms, skin changes, lab tests worrisome for lupus or paresthesias (nerve-related symptoms). Tick-panel blood tests during that time detected only one case of Lyme disease.
Alpha gal tick disease is more prevalent than Lyme disease. Most patients do not have classic mammalian meat allergy symptoms but, like Lyme disease, have a variety of manifestations. Many patients had improvement in their joint symptoms with diet restriction of mammalian meat, followed by treatment along the lines of Lyme disease, some with trials of doxycycline and others requiring treatment for inflammatory arthritis.
I think alpha gal tick disease will be like Lyme disease with a myriad of presentations. The standard tick panel of blood tests does not include the alpha gal test (Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose IgE test). Ask your doctor to add this test if there is suspicion of tick disease. (Note: this is not the test for galactosidase enzyme deficiency seen with an unusual metabolic disease, Fabry’s disease).
Dr. JEFFREY W. WILSON
Source: Lynchburg News Advance
Was out with my boys today. Didn’t bug spray up like we should have.
Had over 100 on my pants.
Found 10 on me and my youngest son. And 30 on my oldest.
They were microscopic larval stage ticks. Likely “lone stars” as the black legs don’t usually feed on humans at the larva stage. http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/dee/vectorborne/documents/brochure.pdf
A reminder to be prepared and not cut corners. A little prevention would have helped.