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As confirmed diagnoses of alpha-gal syndrome are rising, experts urge GI clinicians to familiarize themselves with this condition, it’s often-challenging presentation, and the necessary steps for its diagnosis and management.
Physicians in certain regions of the United States should consider alpha-gal allergy in patients with unexplained abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, according to a recently released clinical practice update from the American Gastroenterological Association (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2023;21:891-896).
This increased vigilance is particularly warranted for patients who live or have lived in an alpha-gal–prevalent area, which includes the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and East Central regions of the country. According to author Sarah McGill, MD, MSc, an associate professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and expert on alpha-gal syndrome, the GI manifestations of this syndrome are still under the radar, having been described only a few years ago in a case report series (Gastroenterology 2021;160:2178-2180).