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Original Article

Epidemiological factors on Hymenoptera venom allergy in a Spanish adult population

L. A. Navarro, Aa. Peláezb, F. de la Torrec, J. Mª Tenias Burillod, J. Megíase, I. Martínezf

a Unidad de Alergia. Servicio de Medicina Interna. Hospital de Xàtiva (Spain) -
b Servicio de Alergia. Hospital Clínico Universitario. Avda. Blasco Ibáñez, 17, 46010 Valencia (Spain) -
c ALK-ABELLÓ , S.A. Miguel Fleta, 19, 28037 Madrid, Spain -
d Dpto. Medicina Preventiva, Hospital Lluis Alcanys, Xàtiva (Spain) -
e Dpto. Médico Ford España, Valencia (Spain) -
f Servicio de Medicina Intena. Hospital de Xàtiva (Spain).

J Invest Allergol Clin Immunol 2004; Vol. 14(2): 134-141



Background: The prevalence and risk factors of hymenoptera venom allergy (HVA) have been studied in several countries. However, there are few studies on the general population and these have very variable results.

Methods: An observational, prospective and cross-sectional study was carried out on a sample of 1064 subjects in a total working population of 7887 subjects (Ford factory, Spain) in order to know the prevalence of HVA in this population and the influence of several risk factors in its development.

Results: The rate of exposure to stings was 84.1 % (ci 95 %: 81.8 – 86.3 %). The prevalence of HVA was 7.6% (ci 95 %: 6.1 – 9.4%), with local severe reactions (LSR) in 5.3% (ci 95 %: 4 – 6.8%) and systemic reactions (SR) in 2.3% (ci 95 %: 1.5 – 3.4%). More than 82 % of individuals over 20 years had already had some exposure, a figure that did not change in the age groups of older decades. In our study, the prevalence of HVA was not dependent on either age (similar age in all groups), sex: for LSR OR 2.75 (ci 95 %: 0.37 – 20.30), for SR OR 0.54 (ci 95 %: 0.12 – 2.38), or atopy OR 0.96 (ci 95 %: 0.50 –1.83); SR being more frequent among the residents of rural habitats, with ranges approaching statistically significant levels OR 2.15 (ci 95 %: 0.95-4.81). The number of stings was larger in HVA group with respect a control group. The degree of venom sensitization measure by skin test and CAP-RAST was more intensive in SR group versus LSR group. Among vespids, sensitization to Polistes was more frequent than Vespula.

Conclusions: HVA in our sample has a similar prevalence to other countries located in similar geo-climatic environments. Rural habitat and the number of stings suffered along life are risk factors of HVA development.

Key words:
Hymenoptera Venom Allergy, prevalence, risk factors, Spanish population.