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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 38-39

Ant sting at an unusual site

Department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication24-Jan-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ibrahim Aliyu
Department of Paediatrics, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Bayero University, Kano
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjmsr.mjmsr_17_17

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How to cite this article:
Aliyu I. Ant sting at an unusual site. Muller J Med Sci Res 2018;9:38-9

How to cite this URL:
Aliyu I. Ant sting at an unusual site. Muller J Med Sci Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Feb 6];9:38-9. Available from: https://www.mjmsr.net/text.asp?2018/9/1/38/223904

Dear Editor,

Ants are social insects which belong to the order hymenoptera and family formicidae. They are related to wasps and bees, but they are less dangerous to man. They occur worldwide, and over 12,000 species have so far been classified;[1] among them those that are of more concern to man are the firefly, bullet, and bulldog ants. They are venomous which are often inconsequential to man. The venom contains predominantly formic acid but that of the firefly also contains protein and alkali [2] causing local irritation, and inflammation; however, there may be ant bite/sting allergy in susceptible individuals. Ant bites/stings usually present as pain at the site; there may be minimal swelling and redness. However, in cases of hypersensitivity reaction, the swelling may be extensive and rarely is there associated systemic symptoms such as chest pain, and breathlessness.[3] Bite/sting sites are commonly exposed part of the body such as the limbs; however, the case of a 10-year-old boy who had a penal sting from black ant (Solenopsis richteri) with extensive penal and scrotal swelling, and pain is reported. He was apparently in good health, and while, playing football with peers he had a sharp pain in his genital area; he had unknowingly stepped on ant track; he was assisted in dislodging the ant. While at home, the pain progressed with redness and swelling of the phallus, this became progressive involving the scrotum; he had no history of allergy. On examination, the penis and scrotum were erythematosus with associated edema [Figure 1] and tenderness. He was diagnosed with ant sting allergy. He had antihistamine, oral steroid, and analgesic; he made remarkable improvement with complete resolution within 7 days. It is estimated that about 60% of population in ant-infested areas are bitten annually;[4] despite this cases of ant bite/sting fatalities are rare.[5] The acid/alkaloids contained in ant venom are not allergic, but proteins implicated include phospholipase and hyaluronidase.[2]
Figure 1: Swollen scrotum and penis

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  References Top

Brady SG, Fisher BL, Schultz TR, Ward PS. The rise of army ants and their relatives: Diversification of specialized predatory doryline ants. BMC Evol Biol 2014;14:93.  Back to cited text no. 1
Hoffman DR, Dove DE, Jacobson RS. Allergens in hymenoptera venom. XX. Isolation of four allergens from imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) venom. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1988;82:818-27.  Back to cited text no. 2
deShazo RD, Butcher BT, Banks WA. Reactions to the stings of the imported fire ant. N Engl J Med 1990;323:462-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Alsharani M, Alanazi M, Alsalamah M. Black ant stings caused by pachycondyla sennaarensis: A significant health hazard. Ann Saudi Med 2009;29:207-11.  Back to cited text no. 4
Al-Shahwan M, Al-Khenaizan S, Al-Khalifa M. Black (samsum) ant induced anaphylaxis in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Med J 2006;27:1761-3.  Back to cited text no. 5


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