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Killer wasps threaten farmers in Shaanxi
By Ma Lie (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-02 05:44

XI'AN: Killer wasps are threatening farmers in Ankang, a city in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Since September, Ankang Central Hospital has seen six deaths and 41 serious injuries as a result of the insects' stings, said Wang Xingchun, director of the hospital's Blood Cleaning Centre.

According to the local public health authority, incomplete statistics record some three hundred injuries and more than 10 deaths from the stings in the past three months.

Over the past four years, the insects have killed some 30 people in Ankang. There have been reports of the killer wasps attacking people in other areas including in the countryside around Xi'an, the provincial capital.

Zou Chongyun, 48, a farmer in Yaohe village in Ankang, was attacked by wasps on September 27 as she worked in her fields.

"Zou was in a serious condition when she arrived at our hospital. She would not have survived if she had arrived any later," said Jiang Xinwen, a doctor in Ankang Central Hospital.

Many farmers believe the increase in wasps is the result of environmental destruction.

"Many trees where the wasps used to nest were cut for farming development a decade ago, now the insects have to live in trees near the villages," Lian Huisheng, a local township official, said.

As wasp and human habitats increasingly overlap, there is an ever-growing threat of being stung by the wasps, experts said.

(China Daily 11/02/2005 page3)

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