Wasp Stings, Stents, Blood Clots and Traps

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WaspBane, a spin off business from the NHS and inventors of Integrated Wasp Management and the WaspBane high efficiency wasp trap, launched an awareness campaign this week through its Facebook page on its website http://www.waspbane.com to alert members of the public that wasp stings increase the risk of blood clots in coronary stents and that people with stents should avoid purchasing or making low efficiency wasp traps to minimise the risk of being stung by wasps.

Wasps - a hidden risk?

it’s about raising awareness so that people with stents who might be at risk can take sensible precautions to avoid being stung by wasps and to seek timely medical advice in the event that they are stung by a wasp.

WaspBane, a spin off business from the NHS and inventors of Integrated Wasp Management and the WaspBane high efficiency wasp trap launched an awareness campaign this week through its Facebook page on its website http://www.waspbane.com to alert members of the public that wasp stings increase the risk of blood clots in coronary stents and that people with stents should avoid purchasing or making low efficiency wasp traps to minimise the risk of being stung by wasps.

Emerging medical data is giving rise to concerns that people fitted with coronary stents may be at risk of developing blood clots in response to wasp stings. Kounis III Syndrome is an allergic type reaction that can be brought on where patients are exposed to allergens and where the body responds by forming blood clots that attack and block coronary stents causing a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

Kounis III Syndrome occurs when immune cells in the body called mast cells become unstable and release antibodies ‘in a flood’ into the blood stream which causes the blood to become sticky and clot. The release of these antibodies ‘in a flood’ is called de-granulation. Stents being foreign bodies act as a magnet for these mast cells and furthermore provide a surface onto which the ‘sticky’ blood can stick.

Wasp venom has evolved over millions of years to contain a whole array of poisons some of which work to cause allergic reactions on purpose. One of these poisons is called mast cell de-granulating peptide and it works by tricking mast cells into releasing their antibodies ‘in a flood’, i.e. it de-granulates them. Another of the poisons in wasp venom, called phospholipase A1, is known to make blood ‘sticky’.

Emerging medical data also suggests that Kounis reactions may be delayed and not necessarily linked with other allergic symptoms such as anaphylaxis. Moreover, because Kounis III Syndrome is a recent discovery it is not yet well known in the medical professions and so is not looked for as a cause of heart attacks in patients with stents. So whilst the ‘recorded’ incidence of patients suffering heart attacks through stents blocked by blood clots caused by wasp stings appears to be rare, there is a worry that more patients may be dying ‘silently’ through miss diagnosed wasp sting induced heart attacks.

“The awareness campaign is not about creating panic or scaring people” says Mr Pazik, who is the managing director at WaspBane, “it’s about raising awareness so that people with stents who might be at risk can take sensible precautions to avoid being stung by wasps and to seek timely medical advice in the event that they are stung by a wasp. It’s about being safe rather than sorry!” Mr Pazik who is a pharmacist also goes on to say “it’s also about raising awareness in the medical professions because there are potential ramifications in the way in which these patients need to be managed and Kounis is not well known. The suspicion is that an unknown number of wasp sting induced Kounis ‘events’ are probably going undiagnosed each year. The awareness campaign is therefore a two pronged effort aimed at prevention, which is always going to be better than cure, and appropriate action in the event of a sting”.

One of the central planks to the awareness campaign is to alert members of the public to the risk of using low efficiency wasp traps which attract more wasps than they kill and therefore increase the number of wasps in their vicinity. “Wasps are incredibly important insects” says Mr Pazik, “and we need them. They pollinate our plants and protect us from harmful pests. The average wasp nest which is little larger than a football will eradicate between 4 and 5 metric tonnes of insect pests in a year! Without wasps we would be faced with all sorts of other diseases and problems caused by insect pests. Sadly wasps do themselves become a health hazard and so have to be managed and that’s where wasp traps come in!”

Low efficiency wasp traps allow wasps to enter, feed and then escape. However, this is not always easy to spot with a busy trap but is high-lighted in a video clip provided by WaspBane hosted on Youtube at http://youtu.be/M0bt_7Tevtc. The escaping wasps go back to the nest and bring back more of their colleagues so increasing the number of wasps in the vicinity of the traps. The WaspBane awareness campaign is working to alert consumers to be wary of wasp trap suppliers making misleading claims that wasps cannot escape from their traps without providing proof. Mr Pazik finishes by saying “It may sound like a trivial matter, but to those people who may be susceptible to wasp stings, it’s a big deal. As a company we believe that making such claims whether wittingly or otherwise where the opposite is true is a breach of the Trades Descriptions Act.”

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Karol Pazik
WaspBane
+44 1296394142
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David Brazier
WaspBane
01480 414644
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