Background/aim: Hymenoptera venom allergy is one of the leading causes of systemic allergic reactions in both adults and children. The present study was conducted to evaluate the prevalence and characteristics of Hymenoptera venom allergy in urban school children aged 6 to 18 years living in Trabzon.
Materials and methods: In this cross-sectional, two-level survey study, children were recruited using random sampling of public primary and secondary schools. Firstly, parents were asked about their child’s age and sex and whether their child had ever been stung by any kind of bee. When they responded “yes” to the last question, they attended a face-to-face interview at the outpatient clinic for the second part of the survey, which included information about history of insect stings and the presence of atopic diseases.
Results: Of 17,000 children, 7904 (46.5%; 3718 males, 47.0%) returned the first-level questionnaire. A total of 4312 (54.5%) were stung at least once in their lifetime. Males had a significantly higher risk of being stung (59.4%, odds ratio: 1.44, 95% confidence interval: 1.32–1.58, p < 0.0001). The second-level questionnaire was completed for 545 (12.6%) of the children. Of 950 stings reported in 545 children, 5.2% were large local reactions (LLRs), 1.9% were generalized cutaneous reactions (GCRs), and 1.3% were systemic reactions (SRs). The stinging insect was Apis mellifera and Vespula in 66.2% and 33.8% of stings, respectively (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Hymenoptera stings are common in urban school children living in Trabzon. The most common type of allergic reaction is LLR and the most reported stinging insect is Apis mellifera.
Keywords: Hymenoptera venom; children; prevalence.
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