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

Ponoka man faces 95 theft-related charges

Police recover stolen license plates, mail, tools

Ponoka man facing almost 100 charges in relation to tip from public

Christian Singer, 32, facing dozens and dozens of charges

AFSC received 2,300 hail claims from recent storms

Conditions of many fields starting to fall as excess heat, lack of moisture begin to take a toll

Three dead in head-on collision Monday night

Three people were pronounced dead, while a child was sent to hospital

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Ponoka’s Ronnie Racing wins Hot August Night

About 15,000 people filled the Castrol Raceway stands at the motorsports complex

Vintage vehicle subject of RCMP search

Two Hills RCMP seek to identify owner of recovered 1940’s vehicle

Canada’s tax system unfairly favours wealthy, poll of CRA auditors suggests

Four of every five respondents think loopholes and tax credits built into the system benefit the rich

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

The plan would allow for more visitors but wouldn’t let Sunshine build additional facilities

Publication ban lifted on details about Fredericton shooting that killed 4

Judge lifts publication ban on court documents related to the Fredericton shooting

Feds to allow charities to engage in political, but not partisan, activity

The plan is to allow charities to pursue political activities

Trump suggests Canada has been sidelined from latest NAFTA negotiations

Canadian officials have insisted they’re unfazed by being left out of the discussions

Photographer files complaint with police after alleged assault on the job

Toronto photographer says he was attacked while covering a protest

Most Read