Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Allergic reactions to vespids: comparison of sensitivities of two species in a Mediterranean area


Miguel Blanca, Allergy Section, Research Unit for Allergic Diseases, Carlos Haya Hospital, Malaga, Spain.


We have studied a group of twenty-seven patients who suffer allergic reactions to vespids stings. Specific IgE antibodies to venom extracts from Polistes gallicus and Vespula germanica were measured by RAST, and the crossreactivity between the two venoms was compared using the RAST inhibition technique. We concluded that, in southern Spain, sensitization to P. gallicus was more prevalent than that to V. germanica, with 44% of the subjects in this study reacting to P. gallicus compared with 33% to V. germanica. However, there was a considerable degree of crossreactivity between the two species. It is evident that Polistes is an important species in this area; however, both in Spain and other Mediterranean countries, V. germanica venom is used almost exclusively for diagnosis and immunotherapy.