Wednesday Jan 18, 2017
SYDNEY: A study published in the Internal Medicine Journal claimed that Bee and wasp stings are more lethal and should be considered the biggest public health threat, than snakes, spiders or jellyfish bites.
The study further said that based on three years' data on bites and stings from venomous creatures shows that Australia's towns and cities are a hot-spot for lethal bee wasp and sting encounters.
Including fatalities, venomous stings and bites resulted in almost 42,000 hospitalisations over the study period.
Bees and wasps were responsible for just over one-third (33 per cent) of hospital admissions, followed by spider bites (30 per cent) and snake bites (15 per cent).
Overall, 64 people were killed by a venomous sting or bite, with more than half of these deaths due to an allergic reaction to an insect bite that caused anaphylactic shock.
Snake bites caused 27 deaths. Importantly, snake bite envenoming caused nearly twice as many deaths per hospital admission than other venomous creatures, making snake bite one of the most important venomous injuries to address.
Bees and wasps killed 27 people, with only one case of a beekeeper and one case of a snake catcher recorded. Tick bites caused three deaths and ant bites another two. Box jellyfish killed three people. There were two deaths from unknown insects. No spider bite fatalities were registered.
"More than half of deaths happened at home, and almost two-thirds (64 percent) occurred, not in the isolated areas we might expect, but rather, in major cities and inner-regional areas where healthcare is readily accessible," said Ronnel Welton, who led the research.
While three-quarters of snakebite fatalities at least made it to hospital, only 44 per cent of people who died from an allergic reaction to an insect sting got to hospital.