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Bee & Wasp Venom Shortage Sparks Alarm Among Allergists

Summer is a bad time for people allergic to insect stings as the number of sting cases increases during the season. With the US warning of an insect venom shortage, those allergic to bee stings are in trouble as once stung, it might be hard to find a cure on hand at the nearest hospital.

Allergy expert and associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. David Golden notes that “it’s going to be a rough summer,” reports CNN. He of course is referring to those who are allergic to bee stings as the doctor has noticed a drop in the supply of venom extracts.

Golden says that he has seen a 25 to 35 percent drop in the supply of venom extracts. Like with most cases of venoms and their appropriate cures, the venom found in the stings of bees can be cured with the same venom. This basically means that the venom can also be used to prevent the death of allergic bee sting victims.

Dr. Golden notes that up to 7.4 million people have a systemic reaction to insect stings. A smaller portion, on the other hand, have life-threatening responses.

CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reports that there are growing cases of people with allergies to insect stings in the US. He notes that 5 percent of people in the US are affected with the allergy.

“Their throat can actually close up. One can have difficulty breathing and lose consciousness and, in the worst-case scenario, could die,” says Dr. Beth Eve to CBS.

ALK Laboratories stopping its production for some of its venom proteins caused the shortage. Due to this, only Jubilant Hollister was left to produce the lacking venom extracts and the company had to increase its manufacturing, reports CNN.

For now, it’s good to have an epinephrine or EpiPen in hand. Those who need to dramatically reduce the reaction use venom immunotherapy. This method requires the bee venom which sadly, is having a shortage on supplies.

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About the author

Jonas is a Journalism graduate from the University of the East. An avid gamer since birth, his knowledge in gaming spans several generations from timeless classics to new generation hits. Be it catching Pokemon and hunting down wyverns in Monster Hunter, he's your go-to guy for all things gaming.