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Public Service, Allergy and Immunology

Desensitisation for Bee or Wasp Allergy

Bee Wasp Allergy Desensitisation    Auckland Hospital Immunology Clinic

For those with bee or wasp allergy, reactions can range from mild through to life threatening.  We provide bee and or wasp sting desensitisation, which is an effective treatment to prevent reactions to future stings.

Bee or wasp allergy can cause anaphylaxis.  There is a fatality approximately once every 2 - 3 years in New Zealand from bee or wasp anaphylaxis. Desensitisation can help prevent this.

For those who are allergic, the chance of a severe reaction with each bee sting is 75%. After desensitisation the chance of a reaction is only 5% and these are mild reactions.

Desensitisation involves injections under the skin of small amounts of either bee or wasp venom.  This starts from very small doses and gradually increases as the body builds up a tolerance.  The injections are initially once weekly, then persist for 5 years.  It is this length of treatment (5 years) that provides the longlasting benefits which continue after the treatment is stopped.

Auckland Hospital Immunology has also desensitised a number of patients from other areas of New Zealand.  This can be done by using newer faster protocols which can get up to the maximum dose over several days, so the patient does not need to stay in Auckland for long.  Thereafter, ongoing maintenance injections can be done by a local GP.

Auckland Hospital Immunology has contacts with DHBs from both the North and South Island.  This treatment should, therefore, be available to anyone, if necessary.

This page was last updated at 10:50AM on June 13, 2023.