Epidemiology of allergic reactions to hymenoptera stings in Irish school children

Authors


Jonathan O’B Hourihane, Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, Clinical Investigations Unit, Cork University Hospital, Wilton, Cork, Ireland
Tel.: 00 353 21 490 1237
Fax: 00 353 21 434 5217
E-mail: J.Hourihane@ucc.ieSources of Funding: AJ, JOBH, Health Research Board, Ireland; ED, IJP,JO’BH Irish Lung Foundation.

Abstract

Jennings A, Duggan E, Perry IJ, Hourihane JO’B. Epidemiology of allergic reactions to hymenoptera stings in Irish school children.
Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2010: 21: 1166–1170.
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S

The aim of this was to study generate the first epidemiological data regarding the prevalence of hymenoptera allergy among school children in Ireland. Questionnaires, including six sting-specific questions (1), were distributed to the parents of primary school children aged 6–8 and 11–13, divided equally between rural and urban backgrounds. From 110 schools, 4112 questionnaires were returned. A total of 1544 (37.5%) children had been stung in their lifetime. Among the total, 5.8% of children stung experienced a large local reaction, 3.4% had a mild (cutaneous) systemic reaction (MSR) and 0.8% experienced a moderate/severe systemic reaction (SSR); these figures respectively represent 2.2%, 1.3% and 0.2% of the total study group. On logistic regression analysis, older children and rural children were at a higher risk of being stung (OR 1.7; 95% CI 1.4–2.; OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.4–1.8 respectively). Rural dwellers and asthma sufferers were more likely to experience an SSR (OR 4.3; 95% CI 1.4–13.5 and OR 2.8; 95% CI 1.8–4.3, respectively). Hymenoptera stings are more common in rural than urban dwelling Irish children. Asthma imparted a greater risk of SSR in this study population. Severe reactions are unusual overall, occurring in <1% of those stung, a lower prevalence than in Israeli teenagers but in keeping with other European reports relating to young children.

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