Sanford Health Laboratories able to test for alpha-gal syndrome

Dakota news now at 4 p.m.
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 5:34 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Thousands more of Americans are now testing positive each year for alpha-gal syndrome — a condition spread by tick bites that causes allergic reactions to eating red meat.

While nationally many doctors still don’t know much about it, Sanford Health can test for it.

If a provider thinks a patient may have alpha-gal, a very quick test processed through the research center lab can be done. Researchers at the lab say they’ve done about 50 tests this year.

“It isn’t very prevalent in our area, but we do see patients living in more areas like northern Minnesota where it is prevalent and then travel to southern states,” said clinical chemist Dr. Christopher Koch.

Koch says it is important to educate people because alpha-gal has only been in the U.S. for about 10 years.

It is difficult to diagnose because it doesn’t act as normal allergies and takes around four to six weeks for symptoms to show.

Some people have minor reactions while others could have life-threatening ones.