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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1988 Sep;82(3 Pt 1):370-81.

The Hymenoptera venom study I, 1979-1982: demographics and history-sting data.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa 33612.


The Hymenoptera venom study, a study based on case histories, skin test results and adverse reactions, immunotherapy and adverse reactions, and treatment efficacy, for 3236 Hymenoptera-allergic subjects, was begun in 1979 after the Food and Drug Administration approval of Hymenoptera venoms. Eighty-four Fellows and Members of the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology participated in the study. All subjects had a history of an adverse reaction to one or more Hymenoptera insects. The mean age was 30 1/2 years (range 1 to 83 years). Male subjects accounted for 61.5% and female subjects, 38.5%; 3.1% were beekeepers and 32.3% were atopic. Demographic data were similar for subgroups. There was an average of 2.7 history stings per subject. At least one systemic reaction (SR) was reported by 2866 subjects (89%); 2219 (69%) experienced an SR after their most recent sting before entry into the study, and 70% had experienced only a single SR. Moderate to severe SRs were equally likely after stings of yellow jacket, white-faced hornet, and yellow hornet (65%), honeybee (67%), or wasp (70%), although historical SRs were reported more often after stings of yellow jacket, white-faced hornet, or yellow hornet (30%) than after honeybee (19%) or wasp (14%) stings. No association was noted between the number of stings per episode and severity of the SR. Fifty-one percent of SRs were reported as occurring within 10 minutes of sting; however, the onset of a moderate to severe SR sometimes occurred at 301 or more minutes after a sting episode. Of 2219 subjects with an SR after their most recent sting before entry into the study, 68% received epinephrine for treatment.

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