It might sound like a "virus" in a dystopian movie that causes the end of civilization as we know it, but it's real. Ticks found in New York State can actually cause you to become allergic to red meat and its by-products.

Close Up Of An Adult Female Deer Tick Dog Tick And A Lone Star Tick Are Shown June 15
A Close Up Of An Adult Female Deer Tick, Dog Tick, And A Lone Star Tick Are Shown June 15, 2001 On The Palm Of A Hand. Ticks Cause An Acute Inflammatory Disease Characterized By Skin Changes, Joint Inflammation, And Flu-Like Symptoms Called Lyme Disease. (Photo By Getty Images)

What Is Alpha-Gal Syndrome?

According to the Centers for Disease Control,

Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) is an emerging, tick bite–associated allergic condition characterized by potentially life-threatening hypersensitivity to an oligosaccharide found in most mammalian meat and products derived from it; however, in the absence of national surveillance, the geographic distribution and number of cases are largely unknown.

Between January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2022, 90,018 people received Alpha-gal positive test results. The number of people with positive test results increased from 13,371 in 2017 to 18,885 in 2021.

The CDC says that the suspected cases of Alpha-gal syndrome have been on the rise since 2010. There is a blood test that looks for Alpha gal sugar.

While New York State isn't a "hotspot," there are quite a few regions that have had cases.

FIGUREGeographic distribution of suspected alpha-gal syndrome cases* per 1 million population per year — United States, 2017–2022

What Causes Alpha-Gal Syndrome?

The primary cause of Alpha-gal Syndrome is a bite from a lone star tick. Once a person is bitten, they may develop an allergy to red meat, including pork, beef, rabbit, lamb, venison, or any of the by-products, including gelatin, cow's milk, milk products, and even pharmaceuticals. The allergic reaction may go away after a few years but could last longer if a person continues to get bitten by ticks.

During the period from January 1, 2017, and December 31, 2022,

The highest numbers of suspected AGS cases were identified in counties within New York (Suffolk [3,746]) and Virginia (Bedford [1,511]); 4% of all suspected cases nationwide resided in Suffolk County, New York.

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According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Alpha-gal syndrome:

- Hives, itching, or itchy, scaly skin.
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other body parts.
- Wheezing or shortness of breath.
- Stomach pain, diarrhea, upset stomach or vomiting.

Get more info on Alpha-gal Syndrome here

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Tis the season for ticks. Here are the 8 types of ticks you'll find biting in New York.

Plant Some Of These In Your New York Garden to Keep Mosquitoes Away

New York State is home to about 70 species of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes occasionally they can transmit disease. According to New York State Of Health, some mosquito species have the potential to transmit disease-causing viruses, should those viruses be present in New York.

How do you keep these dangerous creepy crawlies away from you and your yard? Well, you could spend a small fortune on citronella candles all summer long. Or you can plant some of these 11 plant varieties around your garden or yard: