Anaphylaxis due to Red Imported Fire Ant sting

Graham O Solley, Cas Vanderwoude and Gregory K Knight
Med J Aust 2002; 176 (11): 521-523.

Stings from insects of the Order Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants) are responsible for numerous anaphylactic events, some fatal.1,2 In Australia, allergic reactions to ant stings have, until now, been caused by native ant species (eg, the jumper ant [Myrmecia pilosula and other Myrmecia spp.],3-5 the greenhead ant [Rhytidoponera metallica], Odontomachus, Cerapachys and Brachyponera spp.). Although ants are found worldwide, the only other ant species commonly reported as inducing anaphylaxis is the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta Buren),6-9 which is native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.10 This species was accidentally introduced into Alabama in the United States in the 1930s,10,11 and since then has spread rapidly throughout the southern United States, causing economic damage to crops and primary industries, reducing biological diversity, and frequently inflicting severe stings to humans.12

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  • Graham O Solley1
  • Cas Vanderwoude2
  • Gregory K Knight

  • 1 Watkins Medical Centre, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Fire Ant Control Centre, Oxley, QLD.
  • 3 Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, QLD.


Competing interests:

None declared. The decision to submit this article was made by us and not influenced by any funding body. G O S is in private practice and self-funded; C V is supported by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries Fire Ant Control Centre; and G K K is supported by the Port of Brisbane Corporation.

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