Patients referred from the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area were evaluated for allergic reactions to insect stings. Forty-eight persons reported at least one systemic reaction caused by a Polistes paper-nest wasp sting. Honey bees, imported fire ants, and other types of Hymenoptera were identified in that order by 19 other subjects with systemic allergic reactions. Life-threatening airway obstruction and/or hypotension were noted by most of our patients. Wasp venom skin testing was positive in 65% of subjects reporting sensitivity to this insect. Skin testing was correlated quantitatively with basophil histamine release, and qualitatively with RAST assays using Polistes wasp venom. Venoms from common species of Polistes were highly cross-reactive as shown by RAST and basophil histamine release. Patients having a positive history and laboratory response (by skin testing, histamine release, or RAST) to Polistes wasp venom also were positive to bee venom about 20% of the time and to another vespid (hornet or yellow jacket) over 50% of the time.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy