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Evas' Story


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[CENTER] [/CENTER] [CENTER]This is from Kerry and Frazer whos beautiful daughter Eva died from Anaphalaxis a few months ago.[/CENTER] [CENTER] [/CENTER] [CENTER]Eva’s Story[/CENTER] No doubt many of you heard about the 14 year old Takaka teen who died from anaphylaxis to a beesting this year. This was our daughter Eva. We want to tell you Eva’s story in the hope that it may encourage others with severe allergy to seek further professional help. We have been beekeeping for 13 years. We were told very early on that beekeeper’s family members are more likely to develop allergies to bee venom. Accordingly from very early on we washed all work clothing in a separate washing machine and our kids didn’t travel in the bee truck. Eva was ok with her first sting and very allergic on her second sting. She vomited immediately after being stung and then dozed off a few minutes later. We were referred to a Nelson paediatrician at this stage and advised to get an epipen. Eva carried an epipen with her from age 6 years. The paediatrician recommended that we wait until Eva was 16 years before considering having her desensitised as many young children grow out of their allergies. He didn’t know anything about beekeeper family allergy issues. Her 3rd sting she got at school and a teacher rapidly gave her epipen. Eva’s next sting was at age 10. She collapsed within minutes of being stung and needed to be carried to the car to get to the doctor. The epipen worked for her and oxygen and time was enough to get her right. The fifth sting at 14 years of age killed her. Within 5 minutes of the beesting she had been given 2 doses of adrenaline and had collapsed before getting to the car. She would have been incapable of administering her own epipen. She had CPR done on her on our medical centre lawn and a rescue helicopter flight to Wellington. On arriving in Wellington she had another cardiac arrest and 24 hours later life support was removed. Looking back we wonder why we were never referred to an allergy specialist. However we don’t blame anyone as rural general practices don’t get much experience at this sort of thing. They saw Eva 4 years apart for beestings – different doctors each time and the epipen was working for her. Her allergy had clearly escalated massively in the last 4 years. Her blood pressure dropped so rapidly this time that intramuscular adrenaline didn’t work. Her only chance of being saved would be to have been stung outside a major hospital with the IV adrenaline ready to go. We have now begun the desensitisation process with our 16 year old daughter. This first involves having a blood test done. On a scale of 1-6 our daughter Tullia tested as a 6 ( most reactive ). We had previously not rated her as too bad - relative to Eva. We think Eva would have been off the scale. Tullia has been in Wellington hospital having ‘rush’ desensitisation attempted. This involves several injections of venom per day-beginning with minor doses and gradually increasing. As it turns out she is also severely allergic and in the 1% category of over reactive patients. ‘Rush’ treatment has not worked for her so it is back to attempting one injection per week for a few months and see if she can tolerate that. Then it will be a monthly maintenance injection for several years. Overall desensitisation is a very successful process – 95% reduction in likelihood of anaphylaxis. Currently only Auckland and Wellington can offer venom desensitisation. Most of us are rural beekeepers so much travel is involved! Our message to you is to seek further help if you have family members who have anaphylactic reactions to beestings. Get the blood test done and push to see an allergy specialist if you are concerned. Is it just bad luck that both our kids are so allergic? Are there other families like us out there? It has become obvious to us that there is more to this than the allergy specialists know. Please keep an open mind to this and take any possible precautions. Can anyone point us to any actual research on the greater likelihood of venom allergies in beekeeper families? Thankyou for the support that we have received from the extended beekeeping community – cards , flowers , practical help and donations to the rescue helicopter. It is much appreciated. Regards, Frazer and Kerry Wilson.

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[quote name='frazzledfozzle'] [CENTER] [/CENTER] [LEFT]This is from Kerry and Frazer whos beautiful daughter Eva died from Anaphalaxis a few months ago....[/LEFT] [CENTER] [/CENTER] Can anyone point us to any actual research on the greater likelihood of venom allergies in beekeeper families? [/quote] A valuable story; those of us who are parents will feel it. Google Scholar will present a number of papers on this topic, and from the few I've read there certainly seems to be an acceptance that beekeepers [I]and their families[/I] are more likely to show allergic reactions than the general population. This is based on the fact that the risk of exposure is much greater. It also seems to be the case that children in the general population are less likely to have an allergic reaction than adults in the general population. I have been searching for information on whether a beekeeper's family is more likely to become overly sensitive to bee venom because of their relationship with the beekeeper, rather than the bees. This is the basis for the idea that we should wash bee-suits separately for example, otherwise the minute traces of dry venom will 'prime' the relative's immune system without conferring immunity. So far, I haven't found any evidence for the idea (but I still wash my suits separately!). I have known beekeeper's wives (plural) who never had anything to do with the bees, and had never been stung, but turned out to be very allergic some years later. Could be coincidence, but I'd like to know if anyone has looked.

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Thank you so much Kerry and Frazer. It takes a huge amount of courage to write something like this. I'm just a hobbyist yet have always 1st scrubbed my bee clothing in the tub then into the machine but ALWAYS on their own. I read somewhere, possibly on this site that beekeepers families become more sensitive/allergic to bee venom and products by association. Not sure if it's true or not but I wont risk it and it's not as if I have heaps of hives.

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[quote="Dave Black, post: 34956, member: 219"] I have been searching for information on whether a beekeeper's family is more likely to become overly sensitive to bee venom because of their relationship with the beekeeper, rather than the bees. [/quote] I have no doubt that it is true, Dave. Evidenced in our case by an anaphylactic reaction in our two year old daughter to her [U]first[/U] sting. Despite washing suits separately and her never having been allowed to come near me/us when we return from the hives until we've got suits off and usually showered and changed clothes.

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Are the bad reactions in children developed before birth or even conception? My children are mid to late teens and this is only my second season beeking so I assume there is little to no risk of them developing serious allergies. If a new beek has under 5's (started after they were born) do they have a greater risk of developing allergies or is that already impressed in their systems? (another topic maybe?) The neurotoxins in the bee venom (thanks to Dave's resource) may have a similar effect to fetal alcohol syndrome (?)

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[quote name='Hobbler']Are the bad reactions in children developed before birth or even conception? [/quote] No, no evidence of this. [quote name='Hobbler']My children are mid to late teens and this is only my second season beeking so I assume there is little to no risk of them developing serious allergies. [/quote] Actually, teens are considered higher risk of developing bee allergies - their systems are already in a state of rapid change and

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Very sad indeed, but just one little side note, if you or a family member needs to go through the desensitisation process it is usually only the initial set of injections (which might take a few months) you have to have at Auckland or Wellington hospitals. Once you are onto the maintenance dose (3 -5 years) then you can have it done at most doctors clinics.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My husband is a beekeeper and we have five children and they are all allergic to bees now I also am as from last year. My two oldest boys have been desensitized and seem to be alright now if stung. They both originally helped out with the beekeeping side of things and slowly became allergic. So there must definitely be some connection.

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I have young ones and it is a big concern when reading this. I know its not set in concrete that they will have or develop allargies but it is worrying. I wash my suit seperatly but in the same machine. Maybe time to invest in another one.

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It is a sad story and one that will resonate for all BKs and their families. I have been an on again/off again beekeeper for the past 40 years and because of this developed an heightened sensitivity to stings, I under went a desensitisation process about 15 years ago which seems to have sorted the problem. I just have the usual reaction to stings now. I also know of a beekeeper whose partner developed a severe reaction over time. Just a quick look at a couple of papers from a Google search [SIZE=6][B][SIZE=3]Bee sting allergy in beekeepers.[/SIZE][SIZE=3][URL='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Eich-Wanger%20C%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=9824397']Eich-Wanger C[/URL], [URL='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=M%C3%BCller%20UR%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=9824397']Müller UR[/URL].[/SIZE][SIZE=3]Source[/SIZE][SIZE=3]Division of Internal Medicine, Zieglerspital, Bern, Switzerland. at [url="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9824397"]Bee sting allergy in beekeepers. [Clin Exp Allergy. 1998] - PubMed - NCBI[/url][/SIZE][/B][/SIZE] "Among the 459 bee venom-allergic patients seen over the 5 year period 1987-91, 62 (14%) were beekeepers and 44 (10%) family members of beekeepers" and "Venom immunotherapy was equally effective in the three groups, but better tolerated by allergic beekeepers than the two other groups. The majority of allergic beekeepers continued bee-keeping successfully under the protection of venom immunotherapy." and another from one of the authors [SIZE=6][B][SIZE=3]Bee venom allergy in beekeepers and their family members.[/SIZE][SIZE=3][URL='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=M%C3%BCller%20UR%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=15985817']Müller UR[/URL].[/SIZE][SIZE=3] Source[/SIZE][SIZE=3] Medical Department, Spital Bern Ziegler, Bern, Switzerland. [url="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15985817?report=abstract"]Bee venom allergy in beekeepe... [Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005] - PubMed - NCBI[/url][/SIZE][/B][/SIZE] [SIZE=3]"[/SIZE]Major risk factors for allergic sting reactions in beekeepers are: fewer than 10 annual stings, an atopic constitution and symptoms of upper respiratory allergy during work in the beehive." and "Beekeepers and their family members are at an increased risk of severe sting anaphylaxis and therefore need especially careful instruction with regard to avoidance of re-exposure, emergency treatment and specific immunotherapy with bee venom."

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[quote="Maris Otter, post: 36232, member: 835"]It is a sad story and one that will resonate for all BKs and their families. I have been an on again/off again beekeeper for the past 40 years and because of this developed an heightened sensitivity to stings, I under went a desensitisation process about 15 years ago which seems to have sorted the problem. I just have the usual reaction to stings now. I also know of a beekeeper whose partner developed a severe reaction over time. Just a quick look at a couple of papers from a Google search [SIZE=6][B][SIZE=3]Bee sting allergy in beekeepers.[/SIZE][SIZE=3][URL='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Eich-Wanger%20C%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=9824397']Eich-Wanger C[/URL], [URL='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=M%C3%BCller%20UR%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=9824397']Müller UR[/URL].[/SIZE][SIZE=3]Source[/SIZE][SIZE=3]Division of Internal Medicine, Zieglerspital, Bern, Switzerland. at [URL='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9824397']Bee sting allergy in beekeepers. [Clin Exp Allergy. 1998] - PubMed - NCBI[/URL][/SIZE][/B][/SIZE] "Among the 459 bee venom-allergic patients seen over the 5 year period 1987-91, 62 (14%) were beekeepers and 44 (10%) family members of beekeepers" and "Venom immunotherapy was equally effective in the three groups, but better tolerated by allergic beekeepers than the two other groups. The majority of allergic beekeepers continued bee-keeping successfully under the protection of venom immunotherapy." and another from one of the authors [SIZE=6][B][SIZE=3]Bee venom allergy in beekeepers and their family members.[/SIZE][SIZE=3][URL='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=M%C3%BCller%20UR%5BAuthor%5D&cauthor=true&cauthor_uid=15985817']Müller UR[/URL].[/SIZE][SIZE=3] Source[/SIZE][SIZE=3] Medical Department, Spital Bern Ziegler, Bern, Switzerland. [URL='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15985817?report=abstract']Bee venom allergy in beekeepe... [Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005] - PubMed - NCBI[/URL][/SIZE][/B][/SIZE] [SIZE=3]"[/SIZE]Major risk factors for allergic sting reactions in beekeepers are: fewer than 10 annual stings, an atopic constitution and symptoms of upper respiratory allergy during work in the beehive." and "Beekeepers and their family members are at an increased risk of severe sting anaphylaxis and therefore need especially careful instruction with regard to avoidance of re-exposure, emergency treatment and specific immunotherapy with bee venom."[/quote] as an addtional note to this, I underwent desensitisation when I lived on the West Coast and started developing alarming upper respiratory reactions to being in contact with bees especially when transporting caged queens in a closed vehicle.

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Yep very Sad. Got four kids and none yet are allergic they probably get at least one sting a year each they all put beesuits on and we wash our gear in the same machine but sepreratly from other clothing. I do know a local Beek who has 2 kids and the youngest one is highly alergic. It really makes you wonder.

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  • 4 weeks later...

[quote="Marjorie Hayes, post: 36228, member: 1350"]Hi rashika Yes if you go to the doctor they can organise a blood test for you and it will give you a scale of 1 to 6[/quote] Hi there, do you have any more details about the blood test that is done? I spoke to my doctor yesterday and she doesnt know of one... she checked with other staff and they dont either.

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I have some info coming from Allergy NZ. Will post when I have anything worthwhile. Meantime, Rashika, tell your doctor it is "RAST" testing, which is the blood test, or skin prick testing, which is more sensitive than RAST that is needed. Apparently both can be done at medlabs around the country.

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[quote name='Rashika']Hi there, do you have any more details about the blood test that is done? I spoke to my doctor yesterday and she doesnt know of one... she checked with other staff and they dont either.[/quote] Sometimes, you may have to tell your doctor to google it to expand their knowledge besides prescribing paracetamol.

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[quote="P K Tan, post: 38540, member: 367"]Sometimes, you may have to tell your doctor to google it to expand their knowledge besides prescribing paracetamol.[/quote] actually she tried but the net was down at the time ;-) will let her know info so far

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  • 2 years later...

Note: Christchurch hospital is offering immunotherapy now

 

Also, if you don't want to join the waiting list to see the immunologists at Christchurch hospital, you can get a phone consultation at Auckland Allergy Clinic (private) - and then they can transfer you to public at Christchurch for the treatment... Can save time if this is an important factor.

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