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Case Report: “Killer Bee” Swarm Attacks in French Guiana: The Importance of Prompt Care

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  • 1 Service des Urgences, Cayenne Hospital, Cayenne, French Guiana;
  • | 2 Centre d’Investigation Clinique Antilles-Guyane (Inserm 1424), Cayenne Hospital, Cayenne, French Guiana;
  • | 3 Croix-Rouge Française, Cayenne, French Guiana;
  • | 4 Centre Médical Interarmées, Cayenne, French Guiana

Abstract.

In French Guiana, a French overseas region partly located in the Amazon, “Africanized” bees, a hybrid species of Brazilian bees known as “killer bees,” have been observed since 1975. Since then, several cases requiring long hospitalization times have been described, allowing for a better understanding of the physiopathological mechanisms of this particular envenomation. Here, we report on a series of 10 cases of patients simultaneously attacked by hundreds of killer bees and immediately treated by a prehospital medical team already on site. Between 75 and 650 stingers were removed per victim. The reference treatment for anaphylaxis using intramuscular injection of epinephrine, vascular filling, and oxygen therapy was administered to all patients without delay. A clinical description was provided, and biological tests were performed immediately after the envenomation. We therefore observe the existence of a two-phase, medically well-controlled systemic toxic reaction. Thus, all our patients left the hospital after 44 hours of monitoring with no complications or sequelae, despite levels of intoxication described as potentially fatal elsewhere in the literature.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Swann Geoffroy, Service des Urgences, Cayenne Hospital, 80 rue Victor Schoelcher, Cayenne 97300, French Guiana. E-mail: swanng785@gmail.com

Authors’ addresses: Swann Geoffroy, Service de Pédiatrie, Cayenne Hospital, Cayenne, French Guiana, E-mail: swanng785@gmail.com. Yann Lambert, Centre d’Investigation Clinique Antilles-Guyane (Inserm 1424), Cayenne Hospital, Cayenne, French Guiana, E-mail: y.m.lambert@free.fr. Alexis Fremery, Service des Urgences, Cayenne Hospital, Cayenne, French Guiana, E-mail: alexis.fremery@gmail.com. Christian Marty, Croix-Rouge Française, Cayenne, French Guiana, E-mail: victoirechristian.marty@wanadoo.fr. André Nathalie, Centre Médical Interarmées, Cayenne, French Guiana, E-mail: nathalie.andre@intradef.gouv.fr.

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