gms | German Medical Science

76th Annual Meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

04.05. - 08.05.2005, Erfurt

Increasing incidence of wasp sting injuries within the scope of otorhinolaryngology (ENT)

Meeting Abstract

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie. 76. Jahresversammlung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Kopf- und Hals-Chirurgie e.V.. Erfurt, 04.-08.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc05hno228

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Published: September 22, 2005

© 2005 Caffier.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Introduction: World-wide there are known more than 100.000 different wasp species, in Germany some hundreds. The term "wasp" is associated generally with the yellowjackets Vespula vulgaris and Vespula germanica, which are the most troublesome group of social wasps for humans. The goal of the investigation was to evaluate incidence and therapy of wasp sting injuries in the ENT region, which can be lethal due to generalized reactions as well as oedematous obstruction of the upper respiratory system.

Method: All insect sting injuries treated in the Charité during the years 2002 to 2004 were evaluated in a retrospective study with respect to frequency, localization, therapy as well as occurrence of allergic reactions and other complications after wasp sting injuries. The number of stings was related to the local climatic data.

Results: In the years 2002 to 2004 the number of patients with insect sting injuries triplicated. Altogether 118 males and 163 females between 2 and 83 years were affected (average age 37±15; mean ± SD). The portion of wasp stings amounted to 80% of all insect stings per year. In the ENT region, the occurrence of wasp stings showed a significant increase in 2004. The severity level increased as well. Main cause was the strong rise of enoral and endolaryngeal stings after accidental swallowing or inhalation of wasps.

Conclusions: The treated insect stings demonstrate a climate-related increase of wasp sting injuries. The hot "record" summer in 2003, the following mild winter and dry spring let survive numerous queens who created many new wasp colonies in 2004. The effective medical treatment of potentially life-threatening wasp stings in the ENT region proves the presence of sufficient therapeutic strategies. Under suspicion of wasp venom allergy an emergency kit containing adrenalin, steroids and antihistaminics should be ordered additionally to further diagnostics and hyposensitization.