Allergy and sensitization to Hymenoptera venoms in unreferred adults with a high risk of sting exposure

Alexander Zink, Barbara Schuster, Julia Winkler, Kilian Eyerich, Ulf Darsow, Knut Brockow, Bernadette Eberlein, Tilo Biedermann

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18 Scopus citations


Background: Hymenoptera venom sensitization in highly exposed individuals frequently requires risk assessment for future severe sting reactions. In this study, we determined the prevalence of Hymenoptera venom sensitization in individuals who hunt and fish and analyzed possible correlations between the severity of sting reactions and the IgE sensitization profile. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, paper-based, self-filled questionnaires about previous insect stings and sting reactions were obtained from individuals who hunt and fish in Bavaria, Germany. Blood samples were taken and analyzed for the levels of tryptase, total IgE and IgE to honey bee (i1) and wasp (13) venom, the recombinant allergens rApi m 1, rApi m 2, rApi m 3, rApi m 5, rApi m 10, rVes v 1, rVes v 5, and the CCD marker molecule MUXF3. Odd ratios (ORs) for sensitization and anaphylaxis and Pearson's correlations for the different allergens were calculated. Results: Of 257 participants, 50.2% showed a sensitization to honey bee venom (i1), and 58.4% showed sensitization to wasp venom (i3). A total of 98.4% of participants claimed to have been stung at least once. Anaphylaxis was reported in 18.7%, and a local sting reaction was reported in 18.3%. The highest sensitization rates were found for whole venom extracts, sensitization to any of the available recombinant allergens exceeded sIgE levels to honeybee venom (i1) in 28.5% and to wasp venom (i3) in 52.9% of participants. Participants with a history of more than 5 stings showed a higher risk for anaphylaxis. Conclusions: Sensitization to Hymenoptera venom and their recombinant allergens are present in the majority of individuals who hunt and fish. Sensitization to distinct recombinant allergens does not necessarily affect the severity of sting reactions including anaphylaxis. A meticulous medical history of the number of previous stings as well as systemic reactions remains essential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100039
JournalWorld Allergy Organization Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2019


  • Anaphylaxis
  • Hymenoptera venom sensitization
  • Outdoor population
  • Recombinant allergens
  • Sting reaction


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