Wave of hornet attacks kills 28 in southern Shaanxi

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 5:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 5:53pm

A spate of hornet attacks in southern Shaanxi province has resulted in 28 deaths and hundreds of injuries, a local newspaper reported.

Most of those affected are in remote rural areas of the cities of Ankang, Hanzhong and Shangluo, the province’s Chinese Business reported on Thursday.

The thumb-sized hornets, known as Asian giant hornets or Vespa mandarinia, are known for their highly toxic stings. Multiple stings may be fatal to humans without immediate medical treatment.

One patient being treated in an Ankang hospital suffered acute renal failure after hornets stung him on the head and legs, the report said. He claimed the hornets chased him over a distance of more than 200 metres.

A 55-year old woman from the same village told the newspaper that she was stung more than 200 times. She had been hospitalised for almost a month and was still incontinent, the report said.

“Patients with more than 10 hornet stings should seek medical attention. Those with more than 30 stings need immediate emergency treatment,” a director of Ankang Disease Control Centre told the newspaper.

He added that swarms of hornets were common in the area every autumn, prompting the hospital to set up a panel specialising in the treatment of hornet stings.

Ankang’s fire department had removed over 300 hornet nests from crowded residential areas since July, in an attempt to address the problem.

Local hospital authorities also said they were working on a plan to provide patients with exceptional subsidies, in a bid to address the heavy financial burden placed on impoverished rural residents.

One patient surnamed Chen claimed he had spent over 10,000 yuan (HK$12,600) on medical expenses and did not know how much more he would have to pay before he was fully recovered.