The "jack jumper" ant (Myrmecia pilosula) is a major cause of anaphylaxis in Tasmania. We describe four deaths attributed to stings by this ant between 1980 and 1999. All victims were men aged 40 years or over with significant comorbidities; two were taking angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, which may increase risk of severe anaphylaxis. Three victims had known ant-sting allergy, but only one carried adrenaline, which he did not use. Another believed he was protected by previous attempts at hyposensitisation with whole ant-body extract. There is potential to prevent deaths by careful education of people with known allergy, prescribing of adrenaline for auto-injection and development of an effective hyposensitisation therapy.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.