Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 40 (8), 1095-100

Ant Sting Mortality in Australia

Affiliations

Ant Sting Mortality in Australia

Forbes McGain et al. Toxicon.

Abstract

We investigated ant sting related fatalities in Australia over the period 1980-1999. Data was obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and state coronial authorities. Six ant sting-related fatalities were identified, five in Tasmania and one in New South Wales. All were males aged between 40 and 80-years-of-age and most (5/6) had prior histories of jumper or bull ant (Myrmecia spp.) venom allergy. However, none of the deceased carried injectable adrenaline and most died within 20 min of a single sting. Significant cardiopulmonary co-morbidities were identified in all cases and, in addition, moderate-severe laryngeal oedema and coronary atherosclerosis was observed in most (4/6) cases at autopsy. Where ascertained, Myrmecia ant venom specific immunoglobulin E antibodies levels were always elevated and fell into two distinct patterns of immunoreactivity. Adult Tasmanian males with a prior history of ant venom allergy and cardiopulmonary co-morbidities are therefore at highest risk of a fatal outcome from ant stings. Deaths may be avoided by the early recognition of anaphylaxis and self-treatment with adrenaline as well as by the development of purified Myrmecia ant venom immunotherapy.

Similar articles

  • Anaphylaxis to Bull Dog Ant and Jumper Ant Stings Around Perth, Western Australia
    Y Gilhotra et al. Emerg Med Australas 18 (1), 15-22. PMID 16454770.
    A single species of bull dog ant, M. gratiosa, appears to be responsible for ant sting anaphylaxis around Perth. Further investigation is required for other regions of WA …
  • Fatal Anaphylaxis Due to Fire Ant Stings
    JA Prahlow et al. Am J Forensic Med Pathol 19 (2), 137-42. PMID 9662108. - Case Reports
    Imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri) are the source of a potentially lethal environmental hazard in the southeastern United States. Because of …
  • Wasp Sting Mortality in Australia
    F McGain et al. Med J Aust 173 (4), 198-200. PMID 11008593.
    Wasp sting fatalities have rarely been reported in Australia. We used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and State coronial authorities to investigate deaths f …
  • Ant Allergy in Asia and Australia
    LP Shek et al. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 4 (4), 325-8. PMID 15238800. - Review
    The study of ant allergy in Asia is in its infancy. Clinicians in Asia need to be aware of ant stings as a cause of severe allergic reactions. Certain species that cause …
  • Prevention of Anaphylaxis With Ant Venom Immunotherapy
    SG Brown et al. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 3 (6), 511-6. PMID 14612677. - Review
    Ant venom immunotherapy is feasible and highly efficacious. However, the limited geographical distribution of each species presents a major challenge to making venom extr …
See all similar articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback