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Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1994 Oct 29;124(43):1887-94.

[Fatalities from insect stings in Switzerland 1978 to 1987].

[Article in German]

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Medizinische Klinik des Zieglerspitals, Bern.


In the years 1978 to 1987 29 patients died in Switzerland following hymenoptera strings, most usually from honey bees and wasps (vespula). The vast majority of these fatalities were due to one single sting and thus most probably caused by IgE-mediated anaphylaxis. Three quarters of the victims were male. The mean age was 60 and most of the patients had a history or autopsy evidence of preexisting cardiovascular or pulmonary disease. Death occurred within 30 minutes of the sting in 50% and within 4 hours in 75% of the victims. Of the 10 patients with previously known hymenoptera sting allergy, none had a suitable emergency kit available when stung and none was on venom immunotherapy. Treatment by the emergency physician must be regarded as inadequate in one third of the patients.

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