WA worst for fatal bites, but don’t blame spiders
WA is a hotspot for venomous nasties, recording the most deaths from allergic reactions to insect bites, according to an Australian-first study.
An analysis of hospital admissions for bites and stings in 13 years showed that WA had the most deaths from anaphylactic shock caused by bites from insects such as bees.
WA recorded nine of the 34 deaths from 2000 to 2013, followed by South Australia with eight fatalities.
The University of Melbourne study of almost 42,000 hospital admissions caused by venomous creatures found that bees and other insects posed a major health threat.
Bees and wasps were responsible for 33 per cent of admissions, followed by spider bites with 30 per cent of cases and snake bites with 15 per cent.
Despite the fearful reputation of red-back spiders, no deaths from spider bites were recorded in the 13 years, while 27 people died from snake bites. Bees and wasps killed 27 people, tick bites caused three deaths, and ant bites another two. Box jellyfish killed three people.
WA and SA were the hotspots for stings and bites, most of which occurred between April and October.
Dr Ronelle Welton, of the Australian Venom Unit, said surprisingly more than half of the deaths happened at home.
Two-thirds were in major cities and inner-regional areas where health care was readily accessible.