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Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2001 Aug;1(4):361-5.

Allergy to bumblebee venom.

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Allergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland.


Allergy to bumblebee venom is a rare form of Hymenoptera venom allergy. Because bumblebees are increasingly used for the pollination of greenhouse plants, the prevalence of this Hymenoptera allergy has increased during the past decade. The clinical presentation, diagnosis and therapy of bumblebee venom allergy are similar to other Hymenoptera venom allergies. There is a significant immunological cross-reactivity between bumblebee and honeybee venom. It has been claimed that immunotherapy with honeybee venom can protect patients with bumblebee venom allergy. This concept, however, has been called into question after the finding of bumblebee venom-specific IgE lacking cross-reactivity to honeybee venom, and three cases of bumblebee venom-allergic patients in whom immunotherapy with honeybee venom was unsuccessful. Immunotherapy with pure bumblebee venom has been shown to be effective and safe, and is currently the treatment of choice in individuals who cannot avoid contact with bumblebees. Immunotherapy with honeybee venom, however, should be considered in patients with severe reactions to bumblebee stings and concurrent sensitization to honeybee venom.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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