On average 40 people die every year in the United States from wasp stings. Most of these victims had allergies to wasp venom, but not all. In many other countries the annual rate of wasp-induced death is even higher than it is in America. Not surprisingly, the number of deaths that result from wasp stings is particularly high in their native Asian habitat. The diversity and abundance of wasp species in Asia is at its highest in southern regions where the climate could be described as subtropical or tropical. This is also why wasp and bee stings are considered the biggest public health threat in Australia, which is located farther south than the south Asian island of Thailand. However, many wasp species are small parasitic wasps that feed on spider or insect larvae. Parasitic wasps do not pose any danger to humans, and they should not be confused with the more well known stinging wasps that most people are familiar with. Since bees and wasps are abundant in warmer Asian climates, it should not come as a shock to learn that two people recently died from wasp stings in Thailand after a damaged nest became exposed to several people.
While a construction crew was repairing a staircase within a meditation center, a strong gust of wind blew a wasp nest out of a tree and to the ground where it naturally became damaged. Wasps are known for being territorial and particularly aggressive toward anything that they perceive as a threat to their nests. Damaged wasp nests pose a constant public hazard. This is well known in Thailand, which is why the nearby construction crew immediately took off running after witnessing the nest fall to the ground. Hundreds of wasps pursued the workers as they ran. Several crew members sustained stings but managed to escape to safety. Sadly this was not the case for one of the workers, Ladda Chongthep, who recently died after receiving intensive care for several days. Ladda was only 27 years old, but tragically, she was not the only a victim. According to Ladda’s husband, Ladda had been running slower than other members of the crew as she had been carrying a boy to safety. However, the boy died a few days before Ladda as the result of an allergic reaction to wasp venom. The boy sustained a total of 50 stings. Officials with the meditation retreat are now discussing the safest method of removing the many wasp nests located around the retreat.
Have you ever heard of someone with a venom allergy surviving several stings from a venomous insect?