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Insect bites

INTRODUCTION

The bites of insects may be a minor nuisance or may lead to serious medical problems, including transmission of insect-borne illnesses and severe allergic reactions. Arthropods that commonly bite humans include:

Reactions to the bites of mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, blackflies, and sandflies are discussed in this topic review. Infectious diseases transmitted by the bites of mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, kissing bugs and sandflies are discussed in detail separately.

Insect bites are different from insect stings. Stings involve the injection of venom into the victim and may cause reactions ranging from local irritation to life threatening anaphylaxis. The medical consequences of various insect stings are reviewed separately. (See "Bee, yellow jacket, wasp, and other Hymenoptera stings: Reaction types and acute management" and "Stings of imported fire ants: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and treatment".)

CLINICAL MANIFESTATIONS

Insect bites may result in local reactions, papular urticaria, or systemic allergic reactions. Rarely, other forms of systemic reactions occur, such as serum sickness [1].

                     

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Literature review current through: Jun 2014. | This topic last updated: May 17, 2012.
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