What is the incidence of insect bites in the US?

Updated: Jun 21, 2018
  • Author: Boyd (Bo) D Burns, DO, FACEP, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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In the United States, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reported 8,983 cases of single exposures to insects in 2016. [10] Approximately 590 of these were listed as resulting in moderate reactions and 16 serious reactions. A moderate reaction is defined as signs or symptoms that were more pronounced or systemic, whereas a major reaction is life-threatening or leads to significant residual disability. It is important to understand that the numbers mentioned in this report are only those reported to American Poison Centers, and it should be of no surprise that the actual numbers of uncaptured data are much higher. Fatalities among these exposures are rarely reported to poison centers and usually result from allergic reactions to Hymenoptera stings. Because of underreporting, these numbers are only a glimpse as to what is actually occurring. [10]

The AAPCC 2016 Annual Report published the following single-incident exposures for insects [10] :

  • Ant or fire ant bites: 578 total; 28 moderate, 1 major, 0 deaths

  • Bee, wasp, or hornet stings: 3,348 total; 269 moderate, 11 major, 3 deaths

  • Mosquitos: 178 total; 8 moderate, 0 major, 0 deaths

  • Other insect bites and/or stings: 4,879 total; 268 moderate, 4 major, 0 deaths

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