Clinical Trends for July 2018

Ryan Syrek

Disclosures

July 27, 2018

Trending Clinical Topic of the Week (June 30-July 6): Alpha-Gal

An alarming trend associated with a serious allergy is responsible for this week's top search term. Over the past decade, an unusual allergy has been associated with certain tick bites. Commonly referred to as "alpha-gal," this allergy frequently causes severe symptoms when individuals who were bitten by affected ticks subsequently eat red meat or dairy. More than 5000 cases of alpha-gal are estimated to have occurred in the United States alone, with cases also reported in Germany, Sweden, and Australia. The southeastern and eastern United States have the highest number of reported cases, and a crowd-sourced map is keeping tabs on cases worldwide. Alpha-gal isn't the only disease causing concern; data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that the overall number of tickborne diseases in the United States more than doubled from 2004 to 2016. Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis/anaplasmosis remain the most common tickborne illnesses domestically. The increased amounts of outdoor activities during this time of year and concerns about this dietary allergy's spread no doubt resulted in alpha-gal becoming this week's top trending clinical topic.

For more information on tick-borne illnesses, read here.

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