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Bee and wasp sting reactions in current beekeepers


Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 77(5): 423-427
Bee and wasp sting reactions in current beekeepers
A questionnaire concerning sting reactions and potential risk factors was mailed in September 1993 to all 274 members of the regional beekeepers' association in the Pirkanmaa area of Finland. 191 of the 218 responding beekeepers were included in the study. Systemic bee [Apis mellifera] sting reactions were present in 50 (26%) and large local reactions in 73 (38%) of the beekeepers. Similar reactions following wasp (Vespula spp.) stings were present in 2% and 13%, respectively. 24 (48%) of the systemic reactors and 39 (28%) of the remaining subjects had a history of atopic symptoms (allergic rhinitis, allergic bronchial asthma or atopic dermatitis). While working at hives, nasal and eye symptoms were present in 54% of the systemic reactors and in 23% of the remaining subjects. Systemic reactors were younger and had been beekeepers for a shorter period than nonreactive subjects. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the risk of systemic sting reaction increased 4-fold when nasal or eye symptoms were present while working at hives and 2-fold when the years in beekeeping were <15. It was concluded that the occurrence of systemic and large local reactions after bee stings is high among beekeepers, that a history of atopy is associated with systemic reactions, and that both the presence of nasal or eye symptoms while working at hives and a history of beekeeping <15 years significantly increase the risk of systemic reactions. A questionnaire concerning sting reactions and potential risk factors was mailed to all members of a regional beekeepers' association in Finland; 191 beekeepers were included in the study. Systemic bee sting reactions had been experienced by 50 (26%) and large local reactions by 73 (38%) of the beekeepers. Similar reactions following wasp stings had occurred in 2% and 13%, respectively. Twenty-four (48%) of the systemic reactors and 39 (28%) of the remaining subjects had a history of atopic symptoms (allergic rhinitis, allergic bronchial asthma, or atopic dermatitis). While working at hives, nasal and eye symptoms were present in 54% of the systemic reactors and in 23% of the remaining subjects. Systemic reactors were younger and had been beekeepers for a shorter period than non-reactive subjects. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the risk of systemic sting reaction increased 4-fold when nasal or eye symptoms were present while working at hives and 2-fold when the years in beekeeping were less than 15. It is concluded that the occurrence of systemic and large local reactions after bee stings is high among beekeepers. A history of atopy is associated with systemic reactions. Both the presence of nasal or eye symptoms while working at hives and a history of beekeeping for less than 15 years significantly increase the risk of systemic reactions.

Accession: 002763238

PMID: 8933782

DOI: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)63342-X

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