Source: Dermatology News
New tricks from ticks, near-zero Zika, and the perils of personal grooming: Dermatologists have a lot to think about along the infectious disease spectrum in 2019, according to Justin Finch, MD, speaking at the Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical Conference.
Anaphylaxis from alpha-gal syndrome is on the rise, caused in part by the geographic spread of the Lone Star tick. Beginning in 2006, isolated cases of an anaphylactic reaction to , the epidermal growth factor receptor antagonist used to treat certain cancers, began to be seen in a curious geographic distribution. “The anaphylaxis cases were restricted to the southeastern United States, the home of the Lone Star tick,” said , of the department of dermatology at the University of Connecticut, Farmington.
With some detective work, physicians and epidemiologists eventually determined that patients were reacting to an oligosaccharide called galactose-alpha–1,3-galactose (alpha-gal) found in cetuximab. This protein is also found in the meat of nonprimate mammals; individuals in the southeastern United States, where the Lone Star tick is endemic, had been sensitized via exposure to alpha-gal from Lone Star tick bites.
“Alpha-gal syndrome is on the rise,” said Dr. Finch, driven by the increased spread of this tick. Individuals who are sensitized develop delayed anaphylaxis 2-7 hours after ingesting red meat such as beef, pork, or lamb. “Ask about it,” said Dr. Finch, in patients who develop urticaria, dyspnea, angioedema, or hypotension without a clear offender. Because of the delay between allergen ingestion and anaphylaxis, it can be hard to connect the dots.