The stinging impact of the imported fire ant

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Imported fire ants pose a real and present danger to allergic individuals living in endemic areas. This overview examines the impact of their presence, specifics of their venom and approach to the treatment of the hypersensitive individuals.

Recent findings

Imported fire ant sting attack rates are high in endemic areas with sensitization occurring early in life among those dwelling in these locations. Once considered an outdoor pest, sting attacks are now known to occur indoors with the very young and the very old being especially susceptible due to the decreased mobility of these age extremes. Immunotherapy with whole body extract appears efficacious with both traditional and rush schedules finding utility among allergists. Both the mobility of the populace and the portability of imported fire ants have broadened the presence of both allergic patients and the ant itself among allergists previously unfamiliar with hypersensitive patients or the imported fire ant.

Summary

Recent work has focused on achieving more rapid protection in hypersensitive patients given the high sting attack rates in endemic area with sensitization occurring early in life among those exposed to the imported fire ant.

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