Tragic Death: CSACI Statement
OTTAWA, July 24, 2014 The Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (CSACI) would like to comment on the death of Mrs. Lucie Roussel, Mayor of La Prairie, on Sunday. As previously reported, Mrs. Roussel stepped on a wasp nest and was stung multiple times. Unfortunately, the autopsy report is not yet available. It is thought that Mrs. Roussel died from a toxic reaction to the stings which usually requires at least 50 stings, or anaphylaxis which can occur after one sting. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can cause hives over the body, shortness of breath, throat closing, vomiting and light headedness. Both types of reactions appear suddenly usually within 1 hour of the sting and require immediate and appropriate care. It is important that, regardless of the type of reaction, one be prepared and knows how to react in such situations.
The CSACI asserts that in the event of an anaphylactic reaction, the first treatment is an intramuscular injection of epinephrine, followed by seeking emergency medical services. Available as an auto-injector that is easy to use in an emergency situation, epinephrine must be stored at room temperature, ideally in a pouch provided for such purpose and worn by the allergic person at all times. In addition, auto-injectors must be replaced periodically as an expired auto-injector may lose its effectiveness. If you have a history of anaphylaxis to insect stings it is important that you carry an epinephrine auto-injector with you at all times when you are at risk of being stung.
It is estimated that 1% of the population is at risk of having anaphylaxis after being stung by a yellow jacket, wasp, hornet or bee. Responsibility for diagnosing who is at risks rests with an allergist, who may start a desensitization treatment for allergy to a particular venom. Desensitization for insect venom is very effective. If you have a history of a generalized reaction to an insect sting and have not been desensitized it is important to be assessed by an allergist. The CSACI has a handbook “Anaphylaxis in Schools and Other Settings” which patients may find useful. The CSACI also has an immunotherapy guideline that addresses venom immunotherapy: Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology 2006, 2:47-61 Consensus Guidelines on Practical Issues of Immunotherapy.
The CSACI offers its condolences to Mayor Roussel’s family.
SOURCE Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology – CSACI