Richard D. deShazo, MD; David F. Williams, PhD; Edward S. Moak, MD
Acknowledgments: The authors thank Carol Boone and Dawn Bunch for their assistance in manuscript preparation.
Grant Support: By the Snavely Research Fund, Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi.
Requests for Reprints: Richard D. deShazo, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, CSB6, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. deShazo: Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, CSB6, 2500 North State Street, Jackson, MS 39216.
Dr. Williams: U.S. Department of Agriculture, PO Box 14565, Gainesville, FL 32604.
Dr. Moak: 1040 Biglane Drive, Brookhaven, MS 39601-0866.
Imported fire ants now infest more than 310 million acres in the United States and Puerto Rico. Colonies have been found in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Virginia. Available reports suggest that each year, fire ants sting more than 50% of persons in endemic areas, resulting in a variety of medical consequences.
To describe fire ant attacks among patients in health care facilities.
Case series and literature review.
Two nursing homes in Mississippi.
Two nursing home residents.
Clinical records to describe clinical sequelae of multiple stings.
With the 2 incidents reported here, the total number of reported indoor fire ant attacks on humans since 1989 is 10. Six of the persons attacked, including the 2 nursing home residents described here (who died after the stings), had preexisting neurologic impairment. Eight of the 10 attacks have been reported in the past 4 years.
The presence of fire ants in occupied dwellings indicates the presence of active fire ant colonies in the immediate proximity. Efforts to eradicate these insects should be undertaken immediately, especially if immobile persons are present. These persons should be considered at risk for fire ant attacks as long as the ants are present.
deShazo RD, Williams DF, Moak ES. Fire Ant Attacks on Residents in Health Care Facilities: A Report of Two Cases. Ann Intern Med. ;131:424–429. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-131-6-199909210-00005
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1999;131(6):424-429.
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