Risk factors for systemic reactions to bee venom in British beekeepers.

Alex Richter, Peter Nightingale, Aarnoud Huissoon, Mamidipudi Krishna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND There is a high incidence of systemic reactions (SRs) to bee stings in beekeepers, but the factors predisposing individuals to such responses are not well understood. OBJECTIVES To identify factors that predispose British beekeepers to SRs and to investigate how beekeepers access specialist services after SRs to bee venom. METHODS A link to an online survey was published in the bimonthly magazine and on the Web site of the British Beekeepers Association. The demographic results are presented using descriptive analysis, and a logistic regression model was used to determine risk factors for SRs. RESULTS There were 852 responses to the questionnaire of which 63% were from male beekeepers; the most common age range was 51 to 60 years. Twenty-eight percent of all responders had experienced a large local reaction and 21% had experienced a SR. Factors that predisposed beekeepers to SRs included female sex, having a family member with bee venom allergy, more than 2 years of beekeeping before a SR, and premedication with an antihistamine before attending the hives. A total of 44% of beekeepers with SRs attended the emergency department because of their symptoms, 16.6% were reviewed by an allergy specialist, and only 18% carried an adrenaline autoinjector. CONCLUSIONS Logistic regression analysis identified a number of novel factors to be associated with the development of SRs. Rates of attendance at the emergency department, allergy specialist review, and carriage of adrenaline were low, highlighting a need for education in the beekeeping community and among health care professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-63
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'Risk factors for systemic reactions to bee venom in British beekeepers.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this