Jenny Pomeroy, who was stung by a fire ant at her condo pool, died days later from complications caused by anaphylactic shock.
A 65-year-old Georgia woman has died days after being stung by a fire ant while relaxing at the pool at her condominium complex.
Jenny Pomeroy of Atlanta was stung last week. She died in the hospital on Monday from complications caused by anaphylactic shock, WSB-TV reported.
In most people, fire ant stings usually cause red welts, itching and swelling. But for those who are allergic, the consequences can be deadly.
"If you develop an allergic sensitivity to fire ant venom you can have an allergic reaction, which in the most severe case, can become anaphylaxis," Dr. Stanley Fineman, an allergist with the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma clinic and immediate past president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, told ABC News.
Pomeroy was president and CEO of Prevent Blindness Georgia, an Atlanta-based nonprofit.
"This is a tremendous loss to the vision community and Jenny will forever be remembered as an innovative thinker and a selfless, dedicated leader in Atlanta and across the state of Georgia," Dr. Scott Pastor and Dr. Amy Hutchinson, co-chairs of the Prevent Blindness Georgia board of directors, said in a statement on Tuesday. "We will miss her deeply.”
A co-worker, Laurie Irby, told WSB that Pomeroy knew she was allergic to fire ant stings and was hospitalized years ago due to a sting.
Friends said Pomeroy was carrying an epinephrine pen, a medical device used to inject epinephrine — a hormone that regulates heart rate and blood pressure — to prevent anaphylactic shock, and her husband called 911 immediately after she was stung.
Dozens of people in the U.S. die each year as a result of allergic reactions from insect bites or stings, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that number could be underreported.
The majority of insect stings in the U.S. come from wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and bees.
Fire ants are native to South America and entered the U.S. around 1930. They have since thrived in the southern U.S.
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