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Diagnosis of Allergy to Stinging Insects by Skin Testing with Hymenoptera Venoms

KEVIN J. HUNT, M.D.; MARTIN D. VALENTINE, M.D.; ANNE K. SOBOTKA, B.A.; and LAWRENCE M. LICHTENSTEIN, M.D., Ph.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

This paper is publication no. 183 from the O'Neill Laboratories, The Good Samaritan Hospital.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Kevin J. Hunt, M.D.; The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine at The Good Samaritan Hospital, 5601 Loch Raven Blvd.; Baltimore, MD 21239.


Baltimore, Maryland


Ann Intern Med. 1976;85(1):56-59. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-85-1-56
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Skin testing was done on 30 patients with a history of anaphylactic reactions after a Hymenoptera sting and on 30 control subjects. The patients all had positive basophilhistamine release to one or more venoms on challenge with the specific venoms used for skin testing (honey bee, yellow jacket, white-faced hornet, yellow hornet, and Polistes). At 0.1 µg of venom/ml and at 1.0 µg of venom/ml, 75% and 100%, respectively, of the sensitive patients had a positive skin test. There was a significant (P < 0.001) correlation between skin test and histamine release results. Of the 150 skin tests in control patients, only 1 was positive. Venom skin tests provide, for the first time, a simple, readily available technique to accurately diagnose allergy to stinging insects.

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