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December 15, 1978

Emergency Treatment of Insect-Sting Allergy

JAMA. 1978;240(25):2735. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290250039023

A CONSENSUS development conference on the emergency treatment of insect-sting allergy was held at the National Institutes of Health on Sept 14,1978. The principal concern of the participants was the use of insect-sting kits by nonmedical personnel and what might be done to make such kits available to persons trained in their use.

It is generally not appreciated that stings inflicted by species of the order Hymenoptera—bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and ants—can result in serious and even fatal anaphylactic reactions. Although most persons at risk of such reactions have been sensitized by previous stings and are aware of their hypersensitivity, many are not so aware and may unexpectedly go into a state of shock and collapse after being stung. Accurate figures on the number of susceptible people and the number of people who experience serious reactions each year are not available, but approximately 40 deaths per year from hymenopteran