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, 145 (11-12), 564-6

The Natural History of Sensitivity to Jack Jumper Ants (Hymenoptera Formicidae Myrmecia Pilosula) in Tasmania

  • PMID: 3796365

The Natural History of Sensitivity to Jack Jumper Ants (Hymenoptera Formicidae Myrmecia Pilosula) in Tasmania

P S Clarke. Med J Aust.


There are no records of the natural history of allergic reactions to "jack jumper ant" (Myrmecia pilosula) stings, but a letter to Tasmanian newspapers asked that persons who had not received prophylactic injections for such stings to report any reactions that they had experienced. Two hundred replies were received from a population of 400,000 persons, which shows that these reactions are widespread and that victims are often terrified at the thought of a further sting. Persons who responded were sent a circular and their reactions were classified. The first 100 replies were analysed: 49 persons reported an immediate generalized reaction from the first sting; 31 of these 49 persons and 18 others had a generalized reaction to further stings; and there was a tendency for local reactions at the sting site to become generalized to the whole body. Of the 15 persons who had had no reaction to a first sting, 12 claimed to have developed a generalized reaction on receiving a subsequent sting. Although self-selection may have provided an exaggerated view of the frequency with which reactions to the stings of jack jumper ants become generalized, the problem is clearly one of considerable magnitude which requires further research and attention.

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