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Samenstelling en immunologie van het gif van de honingbij en de aardhommel

Honeybee and bumblebee female individuals produce venom for defending the colony (workers) or for fights with rivals (queen). This venom is lethal for other insects, but only causes pain and discomfort in humans.  In allergic patients a sting may cause a large local swelling or a systemic reaction, which can even result in a life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Bee venom allergy is frequently found in beekeepers and their families. Also stings of bumblebees can elicit allergic reactions, but these are rather rare. Bumblebee venom allergy is mainly found in greenhouse employees, as these species are often used for pollination services. Nowadays, total venom is used for allergy diagnosis and treatment. However, the venom composition and concentration is variable and sometimes this causes systemic side effects. Our research is aimed at enabling a so-called component resolved diagnosis, which determines the patient’s reactivity profile against individual venom allergens and to adapt the immune therapy accordingly.