Venom allergy, risk factors for systemic reactions and the knowledge levels among Turkish beekeepers
Background Allergic reactions developing after bee sting can be severe and life-threatening. According to epidemiological data, serious systemic reactions range between 1.2%–3%, and this is 2–3 times higher (6%) in beekeeping. In different beekeepers' populations, risk factors of systemic reactions have been investigated and diverse results have been found. Objective The aim of this study is to evaluate the level of knowledge of beekeepers about venom allergy, epidemiological data, systemic reaction rates, risk factors for systemic reactions, and the rate of emergency admissions after bee sting. Methods With the collaboration of Uludağ University Beekeeping Development Research Center and Beekeepers Association, a questionnaire consisting of 19 questions was applied to 242 beekeepers in Bursa and Yalova. Two hundred twenty-one beekeepers who completed the questionnaire were involved in the study. Results The mean age of the beekeepers was 49.9 years (range, 18–75 years). The systemic reaction to bee sting in beekeepers was 37.6%. Allergic rhinitis was found to be a risk factor for systemic reaction. Although 80% of the beekeepers recognized that bee venom could be lethal, only 60% of the beekeepers were aware of immunotherapy, and only 30% were aware of the adrenaline auto-injector drug. Conclusion Similar to previous studies, we found that the systemic response to the bee sting in beekeepers was higher compared to normal population. Considering the occupational exposure to bee venom and thus higher risk, the awareness of venom allergy in this high risk population was low, and they were poorly informed about the treatment options.
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