Alpha-gal IgE assay, for tick bite-associated red meat allergy, available at Warde

August 15, 2023

Effective August 15, Warde Medical Laboratory will offer Alpha-gal IgE testing (for red meat allergy).

Sensitization to alpha-gal can occur after bites from the lone star tick (Amlbyomma americium), which has an expanding range in the United States. Alpha-gal is a carbohydrate epitope expressed abundantly in tissue from non-primate mammals, which is why consumption of red meat (especially beef, pork, and lamb) results in allergic symptoms. Ingestion of other mammalian products (including gelatin, and in some cases, milk) can also cause allergic reactions in sensitized individuals; some pharmaceutical products and medical devices must be used with caution in these patients (e.g. bovine or porcine heart valves, the cancer drug cetuximab, gelatin-containing vaccines and colloidal infusions). The presentation of alpha-gal allergy can differ from typical IgE-mediate allergic reactions, in that they are often delayed (up to six hours after ingestion), complicating the diagnostic process. Cutaneous symptoms are common (pruritis and urticaria) but not always present. Gastrointestinal symptoms occur in less than half of cases; however, when GI symptoms present without typical skin findings, allergic reaction is often overlooked as a possible cause, resulting in incorrect work-up and ineffective intervention.

ImmunoCAP assay for Alpha-gal IgE (nGal-alpha-1,3-Gal from bovine thyroglobulin) is performed at Warde on Phadia instrumentation (Thermo Fisher), with expected turn-around time of 1-3 days.

More information about Alpha-gal allergy can be found at:

The Warde test code for Alpha-gal IgE will remain unchanged from the old sendout code: GLAGE.