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Presse Med. 1988 Jun 25;17(25):1309-11.

[Allergy to Hymenoptera. Incidence and degree of public knowledge].

[Article in French]

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Service de Pneumo-Phtisiologie et d'Allergologie, Hôpital Sainte-Marguerite, Marseille.


The prevalence of systemic reactions to hymenoptera stings in adults is unknown. To elucidate this point we interviewed 2.067 persons aged from 20 to 60 years who attended a medical screening centre. We asked them whether they had ever experienced a reaction this kind, what they knew about it and what they did, and we performed skin tests to hymenoptera venoms in those who gave a positive answer. The proportion of subjects who had had at least one type of systemic reaction after being stung was 1.2 per cent; 0.9 per cent of the subjects had both a history of reaction and a positive skin test. This figure is in keeping with those obtained in surveys carried out among children, but is does not tally with the mortality figures which probably are grossly under-estimated. The general population is not adequately informed of possible systemic reactions to hymenoptera stings, so that people often fail to consult, and the practitioners themselves do not advise their patients to see an allergologist for evaluation. Thus, adequate information of the general population and the physicians is badly needed.

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