Advertisement

The natural history of exposure to the imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)

      Abstract

      Background: Imported fire ants (IFA) are a common cause of insect venom hypersensitivity in the southeastern United States. The purpose of this study was to determine the sting attack rate and development of specific IgE in an unsensitized population. Methods: Study participants consisted of 137 medical students with limited exposure to IFA-endemic areas who were temporarily training in San Antonio, Tex. Subjects were surveyed for prior IFA exposure with a questionnaire, and IFA-specific IgE was evaluated with RAST and intradermal skin testing. Evaluations were performed on arrival and reported at departure from the endemic area 3 weeks later. Results: One hundred seven subjects completed the study. Field stings were reported in 55 subjects, resulting in a sting attack rate of 51%. In these 55 subjects 53 (96%) reported a pustule or a small local reaction at the sting site, one (2%) reported an isolated large local reaction, and none reported a systemic reaction. At the 3-week follow-up skin test and RAST conversions occurred in seven subjects (13%) and in one subject (1.8%), respectively. Conclusions: Even brief exposures to IFA-endemic areas result in significant sting rates and concurrent rapid development of IFA-specific IgE in 16% of stung subjects. (J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL 1995;95:824-8.)
      Copyright © 1995 by Mosby–Year Book, Inc.

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      IFA (Imported fire ant), WBE (Whole body extract)
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Lofgren CS
        • Banks WA
        • Glancey BM
        Biology and control of imported fire ants.
        Ann Rev Entomol. 1975; 20: 1-30
      1. Fire ants and leaf-cutting ants: biology and management. Westview, Boulder, Colo1986
        • deShazo RD
        • Butcher BT
        • Banks WA
        Reactions to the stings of the imported fire ant.
        N Engl J Med. 1991; 323: 462-466
        • Vander Meer RK
        • Lofgren CS
        Biochemical evidence for hybridization in fire ants.
        Fla Entomol. 1985; 68: 501-506
        • Glancey BM
        • Craig CH
        • Stringer CE
        • Bishop PM
        Multiple fertile queens in colonies of the imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta.
        J Ga Entomol Soc. 1973; 8: 237-238
        • Clemmer DL
        • Serfling RE
        The imported fire ant: dimensions of an urban problem.
        South Med J. 1975; 68: 1133-1138
        • Stablein JJ
        • Lockey RF
        Adverse reactions to fire ants.
        Clin Rev Allergy. 1987; 5: 161-175
        • Adams CT
        • Lofgren CS
        Incidence of stings or bites of the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidea) and other arthropods among patients at Ft. Stewart, Georgia, USA.
        J Med Entomol. 1982; 19: 366-370
        • Stafford CT
        • Hoffman DR
        • Rhoades RB
        Allergy to imported fire ants.
        South Med J. 1989; 82: 1520-1527
        • Trippett RF
        The imported fire ant: health hazard or nuisance?.
        South Med J. 1976; 69: 258-259
        • Stafford CT
        • Hutto LS
        • Rhoades RB
        • Thompson WO
        • Impson LK
        Imported fire ant as a health hazard.
        South Med J. 1989; 82: 1515-1519
        • Lofgren CS
        • Adams CT
        Economic aspects of the imported fire ant in the United States.
        in: The biology of social insects. Westview Press, Boulder1982: 124-128
        • Hoffman DR
        • Jacobson RS
        • Schmidt M
        • Smith AM
        Allergens in Hymenoptera venoms XXIII: venom contents of imported fire ant whole body extract.
        Ann Allergy. 1991; 66: 29-31
        • Hoffman DR
        • Dove DE
        • Jacobson RS
        Allergens in Hymenoptera venom. XX. Isolation of four allergens from imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) venom.
        J A LLERGY CLIN I MMUNOL. 1988; 82: 818-827
        • deShazo RD
        • Griffing C
        • Kwan TH
        • Banks WA
        • Dvorak HF
        Dermal hypersensitivity reactions to imported fire ants.
        J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL. 1984; 74: 841-847
        • Adams CT
        • Lofgren CS
        Red imported fire ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): frequency of sting attacks on residents of Sumter County, Georgia.
        J Med Entomol. 1981; 18: 378-382
        • Hoffman DR
        • Dove DE
        • Moffitt JE
        • Stafford CT
        Allergens in Hymenoptera venom. XXI. Cross-reactivity between fire ant venom and bee and vespid venoms.
        J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL. 1988; 82: 828-834
        • Strom GB
        • Boswell RN
        • Jacobs RL
        In vivo and in vitro comparison of fire ant venom and fire ant whole body extract.
        J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUNOL. 1983; 72: 46-53
        • Stafford CT
        • Moffitt JE
        • Bunker-Soler A
        • Hoffman DR
        • Thompson WO
        Comparison of in vivo and in vitro tests in the diagnosis of imported fire ant allergy.
        Ann Allergy. 1990; 64: 368-372
        • Stafford CT
        • Wise SL
        • Robinson DA
        • Crosby BL
        • Hoffman DR
        Safety and efficacy of fire ant venom in the diagnosis of fire ant allergy.
        J ALLERGY C LIN IMMUNOL. 1992; 90: 653-661
        • Hoffman DR
        Allergens in Hymenoptera venom. XXIV: The amino acid sequences of imported fire ant venom allergens Sol i II, Sol i III, and Sol i IV.
        J ALLERGY CLIN I MMUNOL. 1993; 91: 71-78