Man Nearly Killed by Fire Ants

By Lin Yuguo, Central News Agency
August 7, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: August 7, 2006 12:00 am

HONG KONG—Dangerous red fire ants have recently appeared in Shenzhen. In the past two months, at least 20 people have been injured by fire ants and sent to emergency care. A few days ago, a middle-aged man almost died from fire ant stings and went into shock. He recovered after emergency care.

A few years ago, there were fire ant alerts in Shenzhen. Nearby Hong Kong was invaded by fire ants last year and several civilians were injured. In both places, a series of extermination work was done and the situation improved.

Since this spring, however, many red ants the size of green beans have appeared near a lake in Shenzhen. According to Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily News, the number of civilians in Shenzhen injured by red ant stings have increased, with many people with severe ant stings becoming unconscious and sent to hospitals for emergency care.

According to the report, a doctor from the Shenzhen Shiyan Hospital emergency room confirmed that in the two months since the start of this summer, about a dozen people have been injured by fire ant stings each month. Most patients appeared to have allergic reactions such as red swollen skin, erythema and dizziness. Normally patients are released several hours after treatment. However, some went into coma from hypersensitivity.

A few days ago, a middle-aged man went into shock and was taken to a hospital via ambulance. His eyes, face and lips were swollen and he stopped breathing for a while. He recovered after emergency care. He told the media that he was defeated by an ant. Initially he felt an unbearable itchiness all over his body and soon afterwards became unconscious.