PARRISH reviewed the reported deaths from venomous animals from the years 1950 through 1959. Of 460 fatalities, 220 were from stinging insects. This exceeded by far the deaths reported from snake bites.1 Many unexplained sudden deaths in those found dead out-of-doors during the summer months and attributed to cardiovascular disease or sunstroke may indeed be the result of insect-sting allergy.2,3
The first recorded death from an insect sting was that of King Menes of Egypt, who died of a hornet sting in 2642 bc.4 Four thousand years later, Waterhouse attributed this entity to anaphylaxis.5 Although over 30 different insects have been described as producing allergic symptoms, Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets) is the order which has caused nearly all of the deaths.1,6 This is of concern to the nonatopic as well as the atopic individual. In a recent study of 2,606 persons with
Houser DD, Caplin I. Insect-Sting Allergy: A Clinical Review. Am J Dis Child. 1967;113(4):498–503. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1967.02090190144021
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