Daniel Koch is seen in this undated handout photo. A 43-year-old New Brunswick man died last week after being stung by a wasp, and his family says he had never displayed previous signs of an allergy. Daniel Koch was looking under a table to locate a wasp’s nest at his home on Friday, August 3 when a wasp flew out and stung him on the face. He died en route to the hospital. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

Wasp sting to face kills N.B. man who didn’t know he was allergic

A single wasp sting kills a 43-year-old New Brunswick man

A 43-year-old New Brunswick man has died after being stung by a wasp, although his family says he had not previously displayed signs of an allergy.

Daniel Koch was looking under a table to locate a wasp’s nest at his property in Maple Grove, N.B., on Friday when a wasp flew out and stung him on the face.

His father, Terry Koch, said Daniel collapsed within minutes.

The family keeps bees on the property, so EpiPens were on site, but the reaction came on too quickly. Daniel died en route to the hospital after Terry administered an EpiPen and performed CPR.

The coroner told the family that Daniel, a father of one, died from a “severe allergic reaction to a sting,” causing his air passages to close.

RELATED: Opposition parties blast minister for ‘dangerous’ EpiPen shortage

Terry described him as a quiet, thoughtful man who put others’ needs before his own — he was looking for the wasp nest because his mother was stung earlier in the week.

But Terry said his son was in good health, and despite being stung by a wasp as recently as last year, Daniel had never shown signs of a severe allergy to stings.

“Actually, when the rest of us got a cold, we’d go to the doctor. When he got a cold, he’d fight it and he always won. I always thought his health was pretty good,” said Terry.

Stories like Daniel’s are uncommon but not unheard of. In 2014, Lucie Roussel, the mayor of La Prairie, Que., died after being stung at least 15 times in the garden of her home, despite never being diagnosed with an allergy.

Allergy specialists say it’s rare to have a fatal allergic reaction without previous symptoms, but it’s not uncommon to develop allergies at any stage of life.

David Fischer, president of Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, said about one per cent of the population is at risk of an allergic reaction to insect stings.

Cases like Koch’s are rare, as many patients have experienced hives or other signs of an allergy before.

“It is unusual to have the reaction the way it’s described … but certainly one per cent of the population could have a reaction to their next sting. The problem is you can’t really do any screening for that,” said Fischer.

Allergies can appear at any age, but Fischer said most cases of fatal or near-fatal reactions to insect stings involve adults over 40, when people are more likely to be on heart medications like beta blockers, or have an underlying narrowing of the coronary artery.

Dr. Donald Stark, an allergist and professor at the University of British Columbia, said the location of the sting can escalate the reaction. In Daniel Koch’s case, the wasp may have inserted the venom into an artery in his face, making him react more rapidly.

There is an effective allergy desensitization treatment for reactions to insect stings, and Stark said the treatment can be 95 per cent effective.

But there have been recent manufacturing problems for the treatment, making it difficult for patients to access.

Stark said this shortage, combined with the current shortage of adult EpiPens in Canada, puts patients with severe insect allergies in a bind, especially during a month when wasps are particularly active.

“It’s a double whammy because if you don’t have the desensitization we said ‘Well, you’d better carry an EpiPen so you know how to treat yourself,’ and now we’re having a hard time getting those as well,” said Stark.

“It is a big problem, and I’ve certainly got a lot of anxious patients.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Fire destroys historic Hitching Post restaurant in Hedley

Two people were injured as fire ripped through the Hedley restaurant around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday

RDOS supports agriculturalists to reduce burning

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen encourages ag properties to grind rather than burn debris

Former Kamloops sheriff caught in sex-related sting pleads guilty to lesser charge

Kevin Johnston will be sentenced on Nov. 6 for his role in communicating online with a person posing as a 14-year-old girl.

Plans for Bugnut property delayed

Plans to built an outdoor social pavilion at the downtown location of… Continue reading

Coyne “overwhelmed” with certain mayoral victory

Spencer Coyne asked Princeton to “Vote for Change.” And it did. The… Continue reading

Your morning news in 90: Oct. 23, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

UPDATED: 34 rescued off whale watching boat in Georgia Strait

Tour company says vessel experienced some kind of mechanical issue

Pipeline opponents blast Trans Mountain re-approval plan

Environmental advocates, First Nations leaders say NEB review has same flaws as it had before

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

Most Read